When Qatar Sports Investments bought Paris Saint-Germain in 2011, one of their marquee coaching hires early in their tenure was Carlo Ancelotti.
QSI would have a project with Ancelotti at the forefront leading the charge. However, the Italian tactician’s tenure lasted only two years, from 2011 to 2013; now, a decade since his exit, CBS Sports and PSG Talk columnist Jonathan Johnson notes how much it has affected the Ligue 1 side.
Ancelotti laid the foundation that allowed his successor to have a successful run at PSG. Nonetheless, the Italian manager didn’t see out the rest of his project.
“Not only was Ancelotti’s time in Paris largely a failure because he was not given the time to put the necessary building blocks in place, the legacy of those early few years was wasted too,” Johnson wrote in his column. “The reason why Laurent Blanc remains the most successful head coach of PSG’s Qatari era was the strength of the squad that he inherited from the elite Italian tactician.
“No French club has ever been as utterly dominant domestically as that 2013-16 spell, which saw Les Rouge et Bleu completing back-to-back domestic clean sweeps. PSG can only boast that once since the 2019-20 season under Thomas Tuchel, which was impacted by COVID-19 and also saw a Champions League final appearance.”
While Ancelotti did ask to leave, the Italian manager revealed in 2022 that it was PSG who broke their trust by demanding he defeat FC Porto or he would be sacked.
“We started to change the structure of training sessions, to put in a kitchen, etc. Because French players arrive half an hour before training and leave half an hour afterwards,” Ancelotti said. “I liked the project, but in the second year, they weren’t so happy with me.
“For a Champions League match in which we were already through to the knockouts, we had lost a league game [to Nice 2-1] before winning [against Evian 4-0], and they told me that if I didn’t beat Porto, they would sack me.
“I told them, ‘how can you say that to me, it breaks our trust’. I decided to leave in February, even if they wanted to renew me.”
PSG will likely be again in the market for a new coach now that Christophe Galtier is on the hot seat after crashing out in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 again. Meanwhile, Ancelotti won the Champions League last season in Paris with Real Madrid.
The capital club has the architect position right in Luis Campos, but now they need to find the right manager that will be there for the foreseeable future and carve out a lengthy career at PSG, such as Arsene Wenge or Jürgen Klopp.
QSI was right to hire Ancelotti; they just needed to be patient and allow him to see out his project. If PSG had played the waiting game, the French giants might have gone a different path.