Who is Laurent Blanc and why does he matter to PSG?
PSG will host Lyon on Sunday, April 2, at the Parc des Princes. There will be a familiar face sitting on the visitors' bench: Laurent Blanc, the Franch manager who will make his return to Prais to face his former club while now at the helm of OL.
Winner of the 1998 World Cup with France (as a player, mind you), Blanc coached PSG between 2013 and 2016 and created one of the most powerful versions of Paris Saint Germain since the arrival of Qatar in the French capital. However, only three players from his teams remain at PSG these days: Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe, and Marco Verratti.
Before Sunday's game, Blanc spoke to different the media and said that he still has "good memories" about his tenure at the Parc des Princes a few years ago. "It's always a pleasure to come back, even though I endured painful defeats. I don't know if it'll be pleasurable to play against PSG now, but it's a great game to play against the best French team."
While managing PSG, Blanc won eleven national titles out of a possible twelve. Not only did Paris Saint-Germain win more titles in that span than ever before or after, but the team also displayed a technical superiority almost unparalleled in the history of the club.
Many believe that's the best-ever version of PSG and in fact, it's the one with the lowest percentage of defeats under a single coach (16 in 173 games, barely nine percent).
Laurent Blanc returns to the Parc des Princes for the first time since the dreamy 2016 season
The climax of Blanc's PSG and their domination came during the 2015-16 season when Zlatan Ibrahimovic led the team with 50 goals and Angel Di Maria topped everybody else with 18 assists. PSG finished that Ligue 1 season with 96 points, 102 goals scored, and only 19 conceded. To this date, it's the most accomplished and successful season in the history of PSG.
However, there is a huge blemish in Blanc's resume at PSG: the French coach failed to break through the Champions League and never made it past the quarter-finals. PSG got eliminated three consecutive times at that stage of the competition under Blanc.
Blanc was very accomplished at PSG, and won more than virtually anybody else had and has in French territory. As is always the case in Paris, though, he couldn't end his run conquering Europe and carrying PSG to their long-dreamed-of Champions League title.