“With great power comes great responsibility.” Perhaps if Serge Aurier had watched Spiderman the other week rather than jump on Periscope, the Ivorian defender wouldn’t find himself in a situation of such uncertainty at the Parisian club.
The idea itself isn’t exactly bad and many young players around France advertise a similar opportunity via their twitter accounts – giving them a chance to connect with fans. However, when asked about your teammates or coach – diplomacy or just plain avoiding the question is always the best course of action.
Not Aurier, following the goalless draw with Lille, days before perhaps the biggest game of his career, he went on a bizarre tirade of comments. Calling Blanc “une fiotte” which translates to “homosexual” or, in some cases, “fa**ot” and when asked if his coach sucks Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s male genitalia, Aurier replied: “he takes it all”.
He also slagged off PSG's other right-back and former Manchester United target Gregory van der Wiel and their former No.1 Salvatore Sirigu, he even told fans he would give them Edinson Cavani’s number to blame the striker for PSG not winning the game that weekend.
Ibrahimovic demanded the comments were translated into English, assuming he's spent too much time with Blanc to have learned any of the language in four seasons - although even some French people were struggling to understand Aurier's accent.
Why all the fuss? Not only is it because of the disgraceful behaviour coming from someone supposed to be a professional, but because he is actually a superb player. This is PSG's problem. On Monday, officials met with the player and discussed his actions and the player got to put his side across - grovel.
Aurier has had support from international teammates, but his biggest lifeline came this weekend from fan-favourite Blaise Matuidi.
"Serge is my friend and is the friend of everyone in the dressing room. He is well-liked by everyone," said the midfielder after PSG beat Reims 4-1 on Saturday.
"We know he made a mistake but, as they say, people make mistakes. He has apologised. He will have a discussion with the coach and we hope it will be positive."
PSG bought him from Toulouse this summer for €10m, he had initially spent a season on loan at the Parc des Princes, after they fought off interest from both Arsenal and Manchester City.
At 23, this is amazingly his seventh season in the French top flight, after making his RC Lens debut on the 22nd of December 2009 – two days after his 17th birthday. He has been on the radar for quite some time, playing in the same back four as Raphael Varane at the northern club and impressing everyone with his progression once he moved to Toulouse. The step up to PSG's level was never doubted, but after settling in last season, this campaign he has flourished.
That's what makes it so disappointing, and puts PSG in such a difficult position. In any other line of work, you would be instantly suspended and following a hearing of some kind, sacked. Without doubt. Gone. In most jobs, you are replaceable.
Football is different. You are an asset. Every player, no matter how bad, has value. Aurier, after his performances this season would have commanded a fee of over €25m if PSG had been looking to sell, they weren't, and even after this incident, the numbers being mentioned were still between €15-20m – the Parisians looking to make a profit on a player they have indefinitely suspended.
They can't sack him, mostly because they understand that one of their European rivals, now he has shown his talent at the top level, would snap him up. Don't try and tell me either Pep Guardiola or Arsene Wenger wouldn't be convinced they could tame Aurier and keep him on the straight and narrow, while recruiting a superb right-back.
On the pitch, he still has his flaws. He can go to ground too easily and his tackles are a little reckless at times, but he is a strong, powerful defender, with endless energy, a superb left-foot and a danger in the air.
As a modern full-back, he ticks every box - plus he can defend. He can even play at centre-back if needed. He's that talented in all aspects of the game, there probably isn't a position he can't play if asked – well, perhaps a position as a UN peacekeeper is out of the question.
The saddest part was Aurier’s treatment of Blanc, and it clearly cut the former France boss deep:
“How did I react? Very badly. Very badly,” he said. “Because we think whatever we like – this is a democracy and we are free to think about things, have our opinions – but that boy …
“Two years ago, I committed myself to bring him to Paris, so to see what I saw yesterday … that’s the thanks I get? It’s pitiful.”
However, Blanc is not a naïve man, he obviously knows how good Aurier is, and how much better he could become. Romario and Bebeto famously didn’t like each other in that legendary Brazil attack of the 90s and the PSG coach doesn’t need to like Aurier to play him.
We’ll leave you with the wise words of Wes Mantooth from the excellent Anchorman:
“From deep down in my stomach, with every inch of me, I pure, straight hate you. But goddammit, do I respect you!”
Blanc doesn’t have to respect Aurier as a person, but there’s no doubt he respects him as a player. That will likely be the reason why he finds a way back into PSG’s starting XI this season.