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May 21, 2013

PSG hope to keep Ancelotti

Leonardo has told RTL radio Paris Saint-Germain have not given up hope of keeping coach Carlo Ancelotti with the Brazilian sporting director determined to "try to make him change his mind".

• Johnson: PSG face dilemma
• Ibra eager for Carlo stay
• Rigg: Ancelotti or bust

At a meeting in Paris on Sunday, Ancelotti told Leonardo and PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi of his desire to quit the Ligue 1 champions this summer, adding he had the opportunity to replace Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid.

While Al-Khelaifi has emphasised the Italian still has a year left on his contract at the Parc des Princes, Leonardo hopes to persuade the former Chelsea and AC Milan coach to resist the temptation of a move to Spain.

"The best thing for Paris Saint-Germain is to keep him. That's what we're going to try and do," Leonardo said. "I understand that if Real Madrid say they're interested, a coach considers it. We're going to see what happens in the next few days. We're going to try to make him change his mind."

The 1994 World Cup winner's approach is more measured than that of Al-Khelaifi, who reportedly reacted angrily to Ancelotti's request, arguing the coach had never lost the backing of club owners Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) despite reports his job was on the line when PSG hit a sticky run of form in November.

"A coach's life isn't easy, but Carlo has always had the support of the club. We've never contacted any other coaches," insisted Leonardo, adding Madrid, who reportedly contacted Ancelotti without first going through PSG, would likely not be dragged through the courts for 'tapping up'. "Real Madrid don't have the right to call Carlo. We're going to look at all that. We don't want to attack anyone. We're looking at the best way to finish things. It's always best to talk."

While Laurent Blanc, 47, and Rafael Benitez, 53, are repeatedly mentioned as potential successors to Ancelotti, Leonardo, who has had brief spells as a coach at both Milan clubs, ruled himself out.

"For the moment, the most important thing is to keep Ancelotti. Me going onto the bench is not on the agenda," the former PSG player said before adding the club's stars would not follow their coach out of the door should he leave. "Neither [Zlatan] Ibra[himovic] nor Thiago Silva will leave if Carlo Ancelotti goes."

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