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May 16, 2013

Ancelotti '50-50' on PSG future

Carlo Ancelotti will meet with Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi on Friday to discuss his future with the coach claiming it is "50-50" whether or not he remains at the Parc des Princes.

With intense media speculation linking Ancelotti with a summer switch to Real Madrid, the Italian has stated frequently in recent weeks he would turn his attention to his personal situation once PSG had clinched the Ligue 1 title. With a third French crown secured last Sunday, the former AC Milan and Chelsea boss will sit down with Al-Khelaifi to clear the air over certain incidents which occurred during PSG's poor month of November.

"Things happened during the season that I want to clarify, difficult moments after the defeat against Rennes, and the one against Nice. I'll take my decision after that," the PSG coach, who has a year left on his current deal in the French capital, told L'Equipe. "Today, it's 50-50. I'm well settled here and I'm someone who doesn't like change. I was disappointed when I left Chelsea. If I leave Paris, there will of course be sadness, it's normal. In the meantime, I want to clarify everything."

The question Ancelotti hopes to resolve is that of the vision of the club's owners, Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), who have spent more than €200 million on assembling the squad. QSI reportedly threatened their coach with the sack after the team picked up four points from five league games before Christmas with PSG's 2-1 Champions League victory over Porto on December 4 widely seen as being the win that saved Ancelotti's job.

"I don't think so. Because I came here for a project. In fact, I want to understand: did I come here for a project or for results? That's the question," he countered before rubbishing speculation his decision hinged on integrating the role of sporting director, held by Leonardo, into his own.

"I want to first speak to the club and understand what happened this season and what will happen in the future. It's not a question of having more power. My work consists of preparing the team on the pitch. I don't want anything else, because the trust between myself and Leonardo is fantastic."

While his future remains uncertain, Ancelotti insisted he had not met any representative of Madrid, nor already informed PSG of his decision, as recent media reports have claimed. He also laughed off suggestions Sir Alex Ferguson had called him personally to propose him for the manager's job at Old Trafford. "That's just a joke," he said.

The club meanwhile are reportedly continuing to sound out potential successors with Fabio Capello, 66, mentioned again in L'Equipe on Thursday having initially been suggested by the same paper last weekend. The former England boss signed a two-year deal to take charge of Russia only last summer, but the paper reports his contract contains a €3 million release clause.

While waiting to talk to his coach, Al-Khelaifi has promised to crack down hard on PSG season ticket holders involved in the violence which marred the club's title celebrations in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower on Monday and led to 39 arrests.

"Those who have season tickets won't be able to come to the Parc, their season ticket will be suspended. Those people aren't part of the PSG family," he told Le Parisien. "Today, I'm Parisian, and I feel the same thing as the victims. It's as if someone had ransacked my house. I'm very sorry and shocked to see all the damage which residents have suffered."

Shops and buildings were damaged in the rioting which left some 30 people with injuries and forced the cancellation of much of the planned festivities to mark PSG's first Ligue 1 title in 19 years. Though clearly outraged, Al-Khelaifi insisted the troublemakers would not diminish QSI's ambition of making the club a European football powerhouse.

"The violence will not stop us. It motivates us even more to be stronger in terms of security. No-one will stop our project," the Qatari said, adding those who blamed the club for the trouble, including French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, were wrong. "Everything that happened had nothing to do with the club. On the contrary, we're victims of it. We were there to celebrate the title. They destroyed our celebration. What happened is a disaster."

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