Post by Ian Such
Carlo Ancelotti represented his country 26 times during his illustrious career but only figured in three games of Italia ‘90’. After starting Italy’s opener against Austria, the former AC Milan man didn’t appear again until theAzzurri’s quarter-final against Ireland coming on as a substitute. He made his final appearance in the third place play-off game against England however despite making relatively little impact during Italia 90, Ancelotti’s career both as a footballer and later as a coach has been nothing short of spectacular.
The man nicknamed ‘Carletto’ was born in Reggio Emilia in 1959. Today he is renowned as one of the best coaches in the world however he also enjoyed an extremely successful playing career. He racked up over 300 appearances for three different clubs, scoring 35 goals over a 16 year period. He started his playing career at Parma in 1976 before making a move to Roma three years later. It was in the capital that he established himself as one of Italy’s best midfielders, making over 171 appearances for the Giallorossi as well as winning the Scudetto and four Italian Cups.
However his most glorious years came at AC Milan. Famous for featuring in the great Rossoneri side of the late 1980s, he played alongside such players as Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Roberto Donadoni, winning the European Cup twice in1989 and 1990.
Following retirement in 1992 Ancelotti took some time out at Coverciano,the technical headquarters of the Italian Football Association (FIGC) based in Florence. Whilst he learnt the coaching trade he penned a research article entitled “Il Futuro del Calcio : Piu Dinamicita” (The Future of Football : More Dynamism). With that he took his first managerial role with Reggianain 1995, overseeing a promotion to Serie A before moving onto Parma in 1996.
It was with the Gialloblu that Carletto began to wave his magic wand. During his time in Emilia Romagna he led Parma to a second place finish and a return to European football. Steady progress domestically and in Europe increased Ancelotti’s growing reputation and in 1999, he was chosen as the man to replace Marcello Lippi at Juventus. He spent two years as Juve head coach guiding them to second place finishes in Serie A two years running.
In 2001, he was appointed coach of AC Milan and led the club to theScudetto (in 2004) and two UEFA Champions League titles (in 2003 and 2007). It was at the Diavolo that Ancelotti also experienced one of the most traumatic days in his coaching career – the 2005 Champions League final against Liverpool. Champions League glory slipped away from Ancelotti and his side in dramatic fashion in one of the most memorable finals in recent memory. The Rossoneri uncharacteristically squandered a 3-0 lead in the second-half as Liverpool went onto to lift the trophy prevailing in a penalty shootout.
Ancelotti stayed with Milan until 2009 when he resigned to move to England and became manager of Chelsea. In his first season in London he secured a historic domestic double winning the Premier League and the FA Cup. It was the first in Chelsea’s history.
The following year he guided Chelsea to a second place finish but was sacked hours after the final game of the season. He wasn’t out of the game for long as six months later he was appointed manager of Paris St Germain. He guided the Paris giants to a second place finish during his debut season and won the league the season after.
His impressive CV soon opened the door to one of football’s most glamourous yet toughest jobs. In the summer of 2013, Carletto realised a dream as Real Madrid came calling. He immediately looked to impose his style on the Galacticos, signing Spanish youngsters Isco and Asier Illarramendi. Madrid also signed Gareth Bale for a world record fee of 105m euros. In his first season in charge he won the Copa del Rey and more importantly guided Los Blancos to the coveted ‘Decima’, a tenth Champions League title.
Ancelotti is highly respected as a manager and has been very successful at some of Europe’s biggest clubs. However he acknowledges that the transition from playing to coaching is extremely difficult and is thankful for his time atCoverciano which allowed him to develop as a coach.
“Don’t think your experience as a player is enough to be a manager. It is enough to have a relationship with the players and to understand the player and what they need, but for the other parts you have to learn and you have to study.”
“The stage that I had in Italy doing my coaching licence was really good – to learn about physical preparation, to learn about tactics.
He also revealed that former Milan coach, Arrigo Sacchi, had a huge influence on his coaching style.
“The last year that I played at AC Milan I had the opportunity to become the assistant manager of Arrigo Sacchi for the national team. I could have continued to play but I preferred to stop because I thought the experience with Sacchi would be really good for me. I was with Sacchi for three years and that period was really important for my growth as a manager.”
Ancelotti’s man management skills have helped him mould and unite squads that have a plethora of individual talents and characters. It’s one of the attributes that has set him apart as one of the greatest coaches in world football
“As a manager you must know the characteristics of the players and build a system where the players are comfortable. I cannot think that Ronaldo has to work in the same way as Angel di Maria or Luka Modric or Sergio Ramos – they have different characteristics.”
Understanding different personalities is a core principle in the Italian’s coaching methodology and Ancelotti believes that developing this understanding is a result of spending time on the training pitch, speaking and engaging with the players as individuals.
“My style is to give the players the best opportunity to be comfortable. That doesn’t mean I don’t like discipline and rules. I like the rules, the discipline and the professionalism but I also like to have a relationship with the players.”
While his experience at Italia 90 was far from the most memorable moment in Ancelotti’s career, it was his time as a player which has helped him become the coach he is today. This is a man that thought beyond his remit as a football player, observing and learning from the coaches he played under. No doubt some of the players he has coached will be inspired to adopt Ancelotti’s coaching philosophy in the future.
Post by Ian Such