Series winner Carlo Ancelotti returns to Real Madrid with unfinished business
Carlo Ancelotti returns to Real Madrid bringing not only a history of trophies won to a club that particularly craves them, but also an aura of calm that he sometimes lacks.
“Carlo never gets angry.” So said Paolo Maldini, who spent five seasons alongside Ancelotti the player and eight under Ancelotti the coach.
Ancelotti, 61, returns to Madrid, where he coached Real from 2013 to 2015, with an unfinished business.
Ancelotti has led teams to league titles in Italy, Germany, England and France. But, while he won one of his three Champions Leagues as a coach with Real, Spain is the only one of the five major European footballing nations where he has not won the championship.
The Italian has amassed an eye-catching collection of trophies with the most understated and phlegmatic coaching styles.
The only sign of emotion on the sidelines is his famous raised left eyebrow. His approach has less appealed to the biggest clubs in recent years.
Since being sacked by Bayern in 2017, he has worked for slightly less aristocratic Napoli and Everton.
Ancelotti led Bayern to a double in the German Cup and the league in 2017, but was sacked in September after losing to Paris Saint-Germain at the start of the Champions League group stage.
His decision to drop veterans like Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben for this game has intensified a growing rift with senior players. The management of the club sided with its stars.
It was a first for Ancelotti, known for his closeness to his players.
Maldini, his former AC Milan captain, once described Ancelotti as a coach as a “nice, fat, bear” unable to get angry: “This can only happen when he eats, because once ‘he has a fork in his hand, it takes an army to stop him!
This calm and good nature, as well as his immense experience, often enabled Ancelotti to play the role of peacemaker.
After arriving at Paris Saint-Germain in December 2011, he did not win the French league in his debut season, but smoothed out the loopholes in the squad, treating stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic with flexibility and taking an approach. paternalistic towards hopes such as Marco Verratti. . He won Ligue 1 in his second season.
He also won an English brace with Chelsea in 2010, before being sacked after the club finished second in the league the following season and came out in the Champions League round of 16.
Ancelotti started his first stint at Real by healing from injuries in a dressing room that had been set on fire by his predecessor, José Mourinho.
He won the support and affection of Real heavyweights, including Cristiano Ronaldo.
This was not enough to save him in 2015 after a disappointing end to the season at a club he had guided to his tenth Champions League title in 2014, the highly anticipated “Decima”.
Diplomacy and intrigue
These memories and the family ties of Ancelotti – his wife is Spanish-Canadian – gave him every reason to return to the Bernabeu.
This time he replaces Zinedine Zidane, who started his coaching career under Ancelotti and conducts himself with the same restraint.
The club of his heart remains AC Milan, however, where he spent 13 years, first as a player between 1987 and 1992 and then as a coach between 2001 and 2009.
There he learned the arts of diplomacy – and intrigue.
As a player he was a fierce midfielder who played for Parma and then for Roma before joining AC Milan where he won two Champions Leagues (1989 and 1990) under the legendary Arrigo Sacchi. He also played 26 times for Italy.
As a coach, he led the club to an Italian Cup in 2003, a league title in 2004 and two Champions Leagues in 2003 and 2007, as well as in the epic loss in 2005 to Liverpool.
He started coaching in Serie B Reggiana in 1995 before moving to Parma and Juventus, where he had no impact between 1999 and 2001.