Leonardo revels in first PSG season
Leonardo insists he would have signed the contract to become Paris St Germain's sporting director "with both hands" had he known that the club would begin April with a great chance of winning the Ligue 1 title this season. The Brazilian, who spent the 1996/97 season with PSG in his playing days, has become the public face of the club's wealthy Qatari owners, who have invested heavily to transform the capital club into championship contenders.
He returned to Paris last summer with ambitions to make the club a major force at home and in Europe but admits things have gone even better than he expected, with PSG second behind Montpellier on goal difference, though Montpellier have a game in hand. In an interview with L'Equipe, Leonardo said: "When I arrived on 14 July last year, I was already ambitious, in my heart, to win the championship this year. But if you had told me we would be second on 1 April I would have signed with both hands."
Leonardo said one of the negative aspects of PSG's new-found profile and wealth is that they are constantly "used" by agents keen to stir up transfer speculation . "Each time there is a player for sale, it is known that PSG are likely to have the means to buy them. So it is easy to use us," he added.
"Sometimes an agent 'leaks' information that PSG is interested in their player - all that to improve their contract at a Russian club, for example. In truth, it's other people who call us. An agent said to me 'Leo, are you OK?', I said 'Yes, and you?'. They exchange two or three bits of trivial talk and at the end the agent can say he has spoken with PSG.
"He has talked about nothing, but he can say he has spoken with PSG. It's like the game of rumours at the Bourse (the French stock exchange)."