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Jan, 4, 2013

PSG eye Euro glory, new ground by 2016

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al Khelaifi has given the club three more years to win the Champions League as part of his vision to make the French capital the home of a European football superpower.

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Up to now, a European Cup Winners' Cup triumph in 1996 marks the sole occasion on which PSG has succeeded on the continental stage. However, having invested some €250 million in the squad since taking over the club a year-and-a-half ago, Al Khelaifi told Le Parisien newspaper another glorious chapter in PSG's European history must be written soon.

"We can't match Real Madrid and Barça straightaway," he said. "When we arrived at PSG in June 2011, we gave ourselves five years to become part of the European elite and win the Champions League. So we still have three years to achieve that.

"We need to gain experience in the Champions League. The objective is to participate in it three seasons in a row to give both the players and the whole club experience of the competition."

Though PSG are through to the last-16 of this season's competition, where they will face Valencia, Al Khelaifi added: "It doesn't seem very realistic [to think we'll win it this season], but you never know. We'll do our utmost to go as far as possible."

Carlo Ancelotti, who controversially took charge from Antoine Kombouare a year ago, is the man who has guided the team to the knockout stages, as well as the top of Ligue 1 heading into the second half of the campaign. A run of five consecutive wins before the winter break reinforced the Italian's position, which had looked in jeopardy following a shock 2-1 loss at Nice on December 1. Though full of praise for his coach, Al Khelaifi reminded Ancelotti his job remains at the whim of his squad.

"Since his arrival at the club at year ago, Carlo has done really good work. I consider him one of the best coaches in the world. But his job is special. A coach depends on the results of his team. That's the way it is, and I can do nothing about it," Al Khelaifi said, before scotching speculation Jose Mourinho's next destination would be the Parc des Princes. "Right now, we have Carlo Ancelotti, and I have total confidence in him. [Mourinho's arrival] is absolutely not on the agenda."

Plans are afoot, however, to transform PSG into a continental heavyweight with the club's infrastructure a particular target. A new training centre to replace the Camp des Loges is in the pipeline, though Al Khelaifi admitted a location for it has yet to be decided on, while the youth academy will also be revamped.

"In the coming months, the Champions League can help us make a big step forward if we have a good run. The other objective is to win the French league title. But short-term results aren't everything. You have to build the foundations at the same time. The construction of a new training centre and youth academy are part of that."

More controversially, the PSG boss told L'Equipe the Parc des Princes, the club's home since 1974, would likely only host the team for a further three years.

"It's clear we'll stay until 2016 with the stadium being renovated for the European Championships. After that, PSG deserves a bigger stadium with the possibility of bringing in more people. That will contribute to increasing the club's revenues. We'll see what happens after 2016."

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