Blanc to take over as France coach
PARIS (AP) — Laurent Blanc will take over as France coach after the World Cup, the French soccer federation said Thursday after reaching a deal with his former club Bordeaux.
Blanc quit as Bordeaux coach last week, confirming he wanted to succeed Raymond Domenech as France manager after the World Cup.
Bordeaux, which wanted Blanc to finish out his contract and stay with the club until June 2011, had asked the French federation for financial compensation.
"The French football federation, via its president Jean-Pierre Escalettes, and the Girondins de Bordeaux, via their president and shareholder, reached a deal in regards to Laurent Blanc's hiring as France coach," the French federation said in a statement.
The federation added it won't make further comment before Blanc's official signing. Bordeaux confirmed on its website that a deal had been reached.
Blanc, who guided Bordeaux to the French league title in 2009, was part of the France team that won the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.
Last year, the 44-year-old Blanc ended Bordeaux's 10-year wait for the French title in just his second season in charge and looked poised for another successful year when his team held a 10-point lead atop the French standings at the winter break.
But a run of poor results saw Bordeaux slump to sixth place and fail to qualify for European competition next year.
Blanc, however, remains a popular figure for the attacking soccer he developed at Bordeaux, and enjoys strong support from his former France teammates.
Domenech will step aside after the World Cup, ending a troubled six-year reign. Domenech guided France to the 2006 World Cup final — losing to Italy on penalty kicks — but has been unpopular with fans since the team's disappointing performance at Euro 2008, where it was eliminated in the group stage.
As a player, Domenech made eight appearances for France and more than 500 for Lyon, Bordeaux and Paris Saint-Germain. He has not won a major title in a 25-year coaching career. He won the second division with Lyon in 1989 and lost the European Championship final with the French under-21 team in 2002.
Blanc started out in Montpellier, where he signed his first professional contract in 1983. He also played for Napoli, Marseille and Barcelona before ending his career at Manchester United. He played for France 97 times, scoring 16 goals.
Blanc replaced Ricardo as Bordeaux coach at the end of the 2006-07 season and led the club to a second-place finish in the French league, winning the coach of the year award.