France international Mamadou Sakho has acknowledged he will have to leave Paris Saint-Germain unless he convinces Carlo Ancelotti to make him a first-team regular.
In a PSG squad full of expensive imports, Sakho, 23, is a rarity: a player who has come through the ranks. However, his club's rise to prominence, fuelled by Qatari wealth, has come at the price of a regular starting role for the athletic centre-back, who finds himself third in Ancelotti's pecking order behind Brazilian duo Thiago Silva and Alex.
It is his desire to be in Brazil next year which means Sakho, who has started all seven of Didier Deschamps' games in charge of Les Bleus so far, may be forced to leave his beloved Parc des Princes.
"Next season will be important with the World Cup. It's been tricky for me for a year-and-a-half in Paris. I'm 23, and to continue improving, I need to play," the Paris-born defender, who made his Ligue 1 debut at 16, told L'Equipe. "My rise has been meteoric, and when I started out at the club, my coaches had faith in me, as did the national team boss, Laurent Blanc.
"But a change in the staff at PSG stopped me dead, and I've been pushed back down the order. Of course, PSG are my club, of course I feel at home there, just as if I were at my mum's. But if there comes a time when I have to leave to flourish, especially if I'm pushed towards the exit, it's clear that I have to think of my career."
Sakho's decision stems from the painful experience of missing out on Euro 2012 after being moved to the blurry edges of the first-team picture following Ancelotti's arrival to replace Antoine Kombouare at the start of 2012. Though he has registered a respectable 20 top-flight appearances this season, Sakho himself acknowledges his time on the pitch owed more to injuries to Alex and Silva than merit.
"Each coach has his soldiers. In the mind of the PSG coach, I know I'm third-choice. I've finally accepted it, even if I don't really understand it as I've never had an explanation, face-to-face, which also disappoints me," said the defender, who has often been praised publicly by Ancelotti for the improvements he has made during the Italian's tenure. "You know, it's just like for the players. Words without actions aren't much use."