Carlo Ancelotti, 62, has seen a lot in the world of football and won a lot too. But what happened on Saturday was also special for him: “Winning at the Bernabéu is something special, and being a coach here too,” he said, “I still can’t believe it!” Which of course contained residual traces of coquetry, he is not just a person in the history of football.
Although: if you remember, it was somewhat surprising that last summer Real Madrid turned to Ancelotti, who was coach at the Santiago Bernabeu from 2013 to 2015. At that time he “only” won the Champions League – the famous “tenth” It is the tenth of 13 continental titles – but not what he has now achieved: the Spanish Championship with Real Madrid.
There are those who say that this time it is the league of striker Karim Benzema or left-back Marcelo (now the player with the most titles in Real Madrid’s history, before the recently deceased Paco Gento: 24), or the league. The great midfielder Luka Modric, the gradually exciting Vinicius Junior or the great goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Only: That’s not true.
Why did he have to go to Bayern? “I wanted to revolutionize the team, that was not what the club wanted.”
That was Carlo Ancelotti’s turn. Because he is now the only coach in world history to have won league titles in all five major European leagues: in his native Italy (Milan, 2004), in England (Chelsea, 2010), in France (Paris Saint-Germain), 2013), in Germany (FC Bayern, 2017) and now also in Spain. “Carlo F”, the newspapers write in German: Charlemagne, Carlo Magno. Ancelotti was busy crying. Ancelotti, who was born in Reggiolo, a town in Emilia-Romagna, and learned to work, said he waited and lived as a peasant’s son.
You can clearly hear it a few days ago when he looked back at 27 years as a coach in an interview with the TV show “Universo Valdano”. Strange and human things appeared there. For example when he talked about England, where he became the first Italian to win the Premier League and later also coached Everton FC. Even without Covid, he said, you’re living there “like it’s always been an epidemic.”
On the other hand: to save the honor of the English language, one must take into account that he also worked in one of the most open places in the world: in Naples, “the best city in the world for a vacation”, as Ancelotti judged: “I trained in the afternoons and then I took the boat to Capri for dinner.” Coincidentally or not, he didn’t win a title there. Munich was somewhere in between: “The city? Amazing. The club? Amazing!” The manager at the time, “Kali” Rummenigge, was a “football guy who understood very well how to run a club and a dressing room.” However, Ancelotti was kicked out of there after just over a year, something he had rarely talked about before.
“What happened? There are moments when you think you have to change the team a little bit, you need freshness,” said Ancelotti. “My idea was to revolutionize the team a little bit and that wasn’t what the club wanted.” In addition, what often happens is: “The great player finds it difficult to understand when the time is right.” He left it open who meant it. In any case, the oldest members of the team at that time were Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.
He left no doubt that he loved working at Bayern Munich. He prefers clubs whose president is a fan over any businessman like Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich: “I’d rather work in a family than in an industry.” However, he was missing one degree or another of warmth in Germany. The atmosphere in the stadiums was “nice, but a bit cold”, the organization of German football was “perfect” in general, and when Jorge Valdano, the host of the dialogue, wanted to know what a picture of the German footballer looked like, Ancelotti said: “The image of the German player is Picture of a German player,” Ancelotti said. He said, “Mechanic?” Valdano asked. Ancelotti replied, “Not very creative. Soldier.”
He can’t do much with the amount of football data: “You don’t have to make things more difficult than they are.”
If anything, it’s Ancelotti’s style and tone. “He is like a father who can also be strict but he is warm, joking and friendly,” goalkeeper Courtois said on Saturday. Ancelotti himself said that it was important for him to distinguish “between a person and a player” – just as he was a “person who played football”, he was also “a person who was a coach” and “it is not someone who puts people on the bench, but a football player”.
He said players don’t always understand that distinction, but he clearly does understand players. “Football is not that hard, it’s easy,” Ancelotti said. “You don’t have to make things more difficult than they are.” It may be because Carlo Ancelotti remembers what it was like when football revolutionary Arrigo Sacchi, who served first as a player and then as an assistant coach, studied tactics at Milan.
“Once we asked what we would like to do. We said a training match.” The next day, Saki left the team playing eleven against eleven at the end of training. But Saki left the training ground. Ancelotti says he himself is “not an obsessive coach”, his job for him “is not work and not the sacrifice I make: it’s passion”.
Winning has also become a passion: he is the only coach to have won three Champions League titles with two different teams (AC Milan and Real Madrid). On Wednesday, he has to catch up to a 2-3 draw with Manchester City in the semi-finals in Madrid to reach the top-flight final. Ancelotti is in good spirits: “Here in Madrid you have to hurry to celebrate…”, referring to the fact that Real Madrid is not satisfied with its laurels. If he wins the pot, he will be the only coach to win four Champions League titles.