Barthez to join PSG staff - report
Fabien Barthez is set to join up again with Laurent Blanc by joining his ex-international teammate's coaching staff at Paris Saint-Germain, French media have reported.
The bald head of Barthez, 42, was kissed by his close friend Blanc before every international fixture the pair played together, and when the latter was coach of the French national team he employed the former Manchester United goalkeeper as a consultant specialist for his three custodians.
France Football reported Barthez is now poised to take up a similar position at PSG, working alongside full-time goalkeeping coach Nicolas Dehon in helping develop all of the club's 'keepers, from first-team first-choice Salvatore Sirigu through to the youth academy.
The appointment of Barthez, who has begun a successful career in motor racing since retiring from football in 2007, could be made official during PSG's winter break tour in Qatar between December 28 and January 3. Reports also suggest Barthez could, in return, receive sponsorship from PSG's wealthy Qatari owners to pursue his motorsport career.
The winter tour of the Gulf state could well prove Jeremy Menez's last as a PSG player with the French international, 26, out of contract at the end of the season and strongly linked with a move back to Italy where Juventus are favourites for his signature.
The former Roma midfielder never fully established himself under Carlo Ancelotti, and has played a similarly peripheral role under the Italian's successor, Blanc.
The PSG boss admitted in Le Figaro he has struggled to exploit the full potential of Menez and the equally frustratingly inconsistent Javier Pastore.
"It's wrong to think that you can always succeed in the handling of a player," he said. "Not everyone reacts in the same way. I don't have a problem with them, but I don't manage to get out of them the maximum of what they can do. It's a little failure. But in the end, I have 11 names I have to pick for a match."
While he may hesitate over his under-performing midfield duo, Blanc has none in putting that of Edinson Cavani on his teamsheet. The Uruguayan international, who joined PSG in an estimated French record 64 million euro deal from Napoli last summer, has not only impressed Blanc with the 12 league goals he has scored in 17 appearances, and the boss rejected suggestions Cavani cannot form a potent partnership with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
"They are complementary in terms of how they play and they didn't wait to get to PSG to score goals," said Blanc, for whom the Cavani-Ibrahimovic duo has contributed 26 of the team's 42 Ligue 1 strikes.
"Cavani is a player who goes everywhere. That's his game. It's not hard for him. He loves that, tracking back and running. By playing a little bit wider, he scores even more goals. He's the modern footballer par excellence."