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Dec 17, 2013

Blanc talks up PSG's UCL chances

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc believes his side are serious candidates to win the Champions League this season, although he knows money cannot buy the title.

Johnson: PSG's Coupe quest for domestic dominance
• Delaney: Five Things: UCL knockout draw
• Blanc: We won't take Bayer lightly

The Ligue 1 leaders were on Monday drawn to face Bayer Leverkusen in the last 16, paving what looks likely to be a downhill path to the quarterfinals, and former France coach Blanc says they could go all the way.

"On paper, we are a finalist," he said in an interview with Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport. "But the Champions League depends on so many different things. Money does not provide any guarantees, otherwise [Manchester] City would already have won it.

"We have the financial means required, the big players, the ambition and a real project. We may only be lacking a history, but we're writing that now."

PSG reached the quarterfinals last season on their return to Europe's elite club competition for the first time since 2004. There, they were eliminated on away goals by Barcelona, but they want to do better this time around.

"Let's say we want to improve on last season," added Blanc, who admitted the draw had been kind. "It could have been worse. We wanted to avoid Manchester City and Arsenal, who strike fear in everybody, but we respect Bayer -- if they're in the last 16, then there's got to be a reason why."

Destiny is the reason why Blanc, 48, believe he finds himself in charge of PSG. He could have been at the helm of Roma instead of compatriot Rudi Garcia this season, while Inter Milan came calling before he chose to take charge of Les Bleus.

"Football's unpredictable," he said. "[Roma] contacted me at the start of and the end of last season, and I would have liked to coach them, but it didn't work out. On the other hand, I would never have expected to be in charge of PSG in June.

"I love Italy, the language, the culture. Maybe one day, that will influence my choice. It would be nice to return. I was close to the Nerazzurro job, but I chose France instead. But there are enough good coaches in Italy right now, and I'm happy where I am."

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