- Birthplace: Alès, France
- Previous Clubs: Bordeaux
- Honours: Ligue 1: 2009-10; Coupe de la Ligue: 2009; Trophée des Champions: 2008. 2009, 2013
2013/14 French Ligue 1 Record
Laurent Blanc made his name as a football legend with his exploits on the pitch. But since his retirement and subsequent move into management, Blanc has also become a well respected and highly successful manager. Now at Paris Saint-Germain, Blanc first shot to managerial fame with his work at Bordeaux.
As a player, Blanc won nine major honours including Ligue 1 with Montpellier, The Cup Winners' Cup with Barcelona, the Premier League with Manchester United, and of course the European Championships and World Cup with France. It all started for him at Montpellier though, where he started his footballing career as an attacking midfielder, helping his team gain promotion to Ligue 1 in 1987. He remains the club's all-time leading scorer with 84 goals in all competitions, despite developing himself in the role of a sweeper.
After his eight years at Montpellier, Blanc became somewhat of a journeyman, not staying with another club for longer than two seasons. With over 250 appearances for Montpellier under his belt, he moved on to Napoli in 1991. He didn't stay long however, returning to France a year later with spells at Nimes, Saint-Etienne, and Auxerre before he made the big move to Barcelona in 1996. During this period he had retired from international football when France failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, but he returned in 1996, which would prove to be a vital decision. At this point Blanc had established himself as one of the world's best defenders, doing the league and cup Double with Auxerre in the 1995-96 season.
Blanc returned to France, after a disappointing spell with Barca, with Marseille and became known as 'Le President' for his natural leadership abilities. The 1998 World Cup would be huge for Blanc. He scored the first ever golden goal in World Cup history against Paraguay, the winning penalty to knock out Italy, but got the one and only red card of his professional career against Croatia, meaning he missed the final. France of course won, and also went on to win Euro 2000, where Blanc once again shone despite his age.
He had rejuvenated Marseille but soon left for Internazionale where he became the club's Player of the Year in 2000. Finally, a move to Manchester United as a 35-year-old beckoned and Blanc won the English Premier League title in 2002-03 as he drew the curtain on his highly successful playing career.
Fast forward four years and Blanc was given his chance at the top level as a manager when he was appointed head coach of Bordeaux. Incredibly Blanc lifted the club to their first Ligue 1 title in ten years in only his second season, also claiming the Coupe de la Ligue in the same campaign.
On July 2, 2010, Blanc became head coach of the France national team and was tasked with piecing together torn apart by a disastrous World Cup campaign on and off the pitch. His first game ended in defeat at the hands of Norway, but results did pick up and France reached Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine by finishing top of their group. Blanc certainly steadied the ship with the France team but his tenure was short, as he stepped down after being eliminated from the European Championship in the quarter-finals, a 2-0 defeat to eventual winners Spain, seeing his team sent home disappointed.
With the France job ending in frustration, Blanc was linked to various managerial roles, including being the successor to Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. However, on June 25, 2013, Blanc was appointed as the new head coach of Paris Saint-Germain after Carlo Ancelotti left for Real Madrid. His PSG tenure began with success, as he won the Trophee des Champions for the third time in his managerial career with a 2-1 victory over former club Bordeaux.
Strengths: The silkiest of centre-backs, Blanc's love of le beau jeu ('beautiful play') shone through at Bordeaux, and though he sacrificed that philosophy for pragmatism at times when in charge of France, he spoke of the importance of attractive football when appointed at PSG.
Weaknesses: Though he enjoyed a 23-game unbeaten run at the head of Les Bleus, a question mark remains over his man-management skills after indiscipline rippled through his Euro 2012 squad.
Career high: Guiding Bordeaux to the Ligue 1 title in 2008-09, and following it up with qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League the following season after coming through a group including Bayern Munich and Juventus.
Career low: After taking Bordeaux eight points clear at the top halfway through the 2009-10 campaign, Blanc's squad tumbled to finish sixth as the 'Will he? Won't he?' speculation over his coaching future proved a fatal distraction.
Tactics: Blanc favoured a playmaker in the shape of Yoann Gourcuff in a diamond-midfield 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 at Bordeaux, though the classic 4-4-2 that Carlo Ancelotti employed to take the Ligue 1 title last season looks better suited to pairing Zlatan Ibrahimovic with Edinson Cavani.
Quotes: "The staff and I will put everything we can into trying to achieve the objectives which we'll be set and serve up a beautiful spectacle. As you know, I like good football." Blanc following his appointment as PSG coach in late June.
Trivia: Blanc would kiss Fabien Barthez's shaven head before every game with the French national side, but has always maintained the air of mystery as to why.
Paris Saint-Germain Squad
|23||Gregory Van Der Wiel|