Friday, 12 October 2012

Le Fabuleux Destin d'Clément Chantôme

Five Paris Saint-Germain players are currently with the France squad preparing for matches against Japan and Spain.

The inclusion of Christophe Jallet, Mamadou Sakho, Blaise Matuidi, Jeremy Menez and Clément Chantôme means PSG are the single team which currently provides the most players for Les Bleus, one in the eye for the doom-mongers who claimed the QSI’s take-over of the club would see home-grown players sidelined in favour of foreign talent.

All five have been regulars in Carlo Ancelotti’s starting line-up this season, and it is the presence of Chantôme, who received his first call-up when he was drafted in as a late replacement for the injured Lassana Diarra, that is most pleasing from my perspective.

Like most PSG fans, I love a bit of Chantôme (in a totally non-gay sense, obviously), and was sad to see his progress stall last year due to a combination of injuries and the new arrivals.

This year it’s been a completely different story, and the 25-year-old already has five league starts under his belt, having formed a formidable midfield triumvirate with Matuidi and Marco Verratti.

"For your first time with the national team, it's always better to be surrounded by guys who you see daily. I also knew several players from the Under-21 team, so I didn't feel lost when I arrived," said Chantôme, who is apparently enjoying his time with the national team.

"I've only had two training sessions, and only one really with the squad. It's difficult to judge and compare with PSG, but I would say it's more or less the same. Ninety per cent of the squad at PSG are internationals, and it's about the same standard at training."

"It's a nice reward for me to have been called up. I'm here now to show my quality, and hopefully get some minutes on the pitch.”

Fingers crossed on that front. He’ll be among the substitutes for tonight’s game against Japan.
It could have been a very different story, as we were told on several occasions in the summer that CC was close to leaving the Parc-des-Princes. Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas conducted a very public – and slightly pathetic – courtship of the midfielder, but PSG decided not to sell and the player wasn’t about to force the issue.

"I had a difficult choice to make,” he said. “There was a club which really wanted me. I had a discussion with Carlo Ancelotti, who told me that he was really counting on me. I think that he's shown that since the start of the season."

Ancelotti has always stressed the need for a core of French players in the side, in the same way his Milan and Chelsea teams were built on Italian and English foundations respectively, and I think he deserves credit for managing to keep Chantôme on-side.

At 25, Clement should be coming into the prime of footballing life, and appears to be ready to make good on the promise he has showed since making his debut as a 19-year-old. Let’s hope he continues to get a chance to do just that at the Parc-des-Princes, and that he can fulfil his fabulous (footballing) destiny with PSG.


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