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PSG set for Indian youth academy

Paris Saint-Germain will open a youth academy in India in July as the Ligue 1 champions seek to enhance their reputation in Asia.

Laurent Blanc believes his PSG team are capable of springing a surprise in Europe.
Laurent Blanc has welcomed the opening of the new youth academy.

Johnson: Leonardo's return

The academy, which will be based in New Delhi, will be the fifth establishment set up by PSG's owners following the opening of similar centres in Qatar, Brazil, Morocco and Indonesia.

"Well, the goal of the academy is to get the people to know French football and try to develop youth football in India," PSG coach Laurent Blanc told the Press Trust of India during a teleconference.

"But the academy more strongly has a social objective to allow the young players of India and maybe kids in need to know social success through football, and we are pretty sure that the academy will bring such a thing forward."

With world-renowned stars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva in their ranks, PSG's matches are now televised across the globe.

They do, however, lag behind a host of Premier League clubs and the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in terms of popularity across Asia.

Blanc acknowledged the academy would help PSG in particular -- and French football at large -- make a name for themselves in India, where cricket has reigned supreme.

"India is a great country, great population, and very strong youth population -- so sport has to be present. Football is the most popular sport in the world. Therefore, I'm not really surprised that India decides to open up to football and that's why I'm really happy at the launch of the PSG academy in India," the former France and Bordeaux coach said.

"I think it's a good thing for French football to open up to India and gain some interest in India, and most importantly it's a very good thing for the youth of the country."

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