Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Chelsea, Juventus, Paris Saint Germain—Carlo Ancelotti has left his mark on the biggest clubs and introduced a new style of managing games and relationships. This calm, composed, cool man has managed some of the biggest names in world football and worked under the biggest presidents in the football business and still has earned a place among the elite both as a master tactician and a kind and friendly man. The respect that Ancelotti has earned over years, hardly anyone can say they sit on the same stature. Glories, achievements, setbacks—he has gone through it all and yet still sits with a freshness and zeal to go on and win.
Ancelotti quit playing football at the age of thirty-three having enjoyed a fruitful spell with A.C. Milan during the twilight of his career. Having won two Champions League trophies and two League titles with Milan, Ancelotti left the game with a triumphant end. But as destiny decides his association with football was not going to end but rather entering into a new chapter that proved to be the more glorious one.
Carlo’s first stint of management came with a second division club Reggiana in 1995 where he won the championship. Then came Parma where he coached footballers like Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Hernan Crespo, Lilian Thuram who would soon become some of the best footballers in the world. Carlo spent two seasons with Parma qualifying for the Champions League before being sacked by the club. The
Italian’s adventurous start continued at Turin with Juventus. Coaching Juventus would have always been a difficult task for him because of his history with Milan and Roma and the consequent hatred of the fans. Choosing to manage Juventus was no way the best decision by Ancelotti but it certainly gave him a taste of what was to manage a big club which he was always destined for.
After it seemed that his coaching career was going nowhere with a string of sackings, his home, Milan, came calling. What followed was a golden eight-year period both for the club and the coach. Milan immediately felt as a home for Carlo. With incomings like Alessandro Nesta, Kaka, and Clarence Seedorf, Ancelotti built a team that would dominate Europe for years to come. Two European Cups, a Scudetto, a FIFA Club World Cup, two UEFA Super Cups reflect the success he achieved.
But it was the relationship with the players that Carlo Ancelotti cherished the most during his time at Milan. Players like Paolo Maldini, Nesta, Filipo Inzaghi were in tears when Carlo left Milan. This just goes to show how much the players respected him as a man and a coach. Ultimately the club that provided him the most successful period as a club proved to be the club that kickstarted his career as one of the world’s greatest managers.
After leaving Milan, Chelsea came calling for Ancelotti. This would be Carlo’s first experience as a coach outside of Italy and his toughest to date. Carlo was expected to deliver success in the world’s toughest league and he managed it in some style. His Chelsea side became the first-ever Premier League side to score over 100 goals in a single Premier League campaign, managing to secure the League Cup in the process.
Carlo couldn’t deliver the same level of success the following season and ultimately left Chelsea to join Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 who hadn’t won a trophy in 19 years. Despite finishing 2nd in his first season the management didn’t sack him considering that he had taken over only in December and the organization was in complete shambles. PSG did win the title next season and reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Carlo then asked to leave the club.
A bigger and exciting challenge was awaiting him in Madrid. In his first season at Real Madrid, Ancelotti delivered the much-desired 10th Champions League, the La Decima, and integrated world-record signing, Gareth Bale into the side.
In the 14-15 season, Madrid played some scintillating football scoring goals for fun but an amalgamation of injuries, absence of key players meant that Madrid came so close yet so far to all the trophies. As expected the club president, Florentino Perez sacked him ending his wonderful two-year journey at the world’s biggest club.
After a year off from football, disappointing periods followed at Bayern Munich and Napoli for Ancelotti. However, in late 2019, he took charge of Everton and is now building them to challenge the biggest clubs in England for the Premier League.
One of Europe’s Greatest Ever
Carlo’s biggest strength has been the relationships he has built with those around him during his career—no wonder big names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Beckham speak highly of him. Even when the results aren’t going his way, he is sure to have the trust of the players. Carlo’s approach is calm and he believes that the players should be able to motivate themselves. Carlo has that authority just because one respects him so much. That composure inspires and encourages the players around him and drives them to play for him. This is a manager’s biggest strength and Carlo Ancelotti has that in abundance. He modifies the traditions and practices and when he moves on these cultures remain intact and that surely is the most anyone can ask.
Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Images