Paris (AFP) – “Carlo never gets angry”: signed by his former player Paolo Maldini, the sentence sums up the personality of Carlo Ancelotti, trophy eater and supporter of gentle management on the bench at Real Madrid, who on Saturday became the first coach to clinch a fourth Champions League.
After a first stint (2013-2015) already crowned with a European crowning, “Carletto”, who turned 63 on June 10, was recalled to the bench of Madrid last summer and found a position that suits his Talent equals to continue his legend.
His phlegmatic style, which his famous raised left eyebrow occasionally betrays, always pays off: at the end of April, “Il Mister” was the first coach in history to win the five major European football championships with Real thanks to La Liga.
The photo of the native of Reggiolo (Northern Italy) with white curls, dark glasses and a cigar in his mouth between his exuberant teammates then ignited the social networks.
“The players are my friends,” the technician smiled, and they returned it to him on Saturday.
With this new European crowning achievement, the Italian has settled alone in the pantheon of football by winning his 4th Champions League on a bench (2003 and 2007 with AC Milan, 2014 and 2022 with Real), ahead of the immense Zinedine Zidane and Bob Paisley (three trophies each).
“Gentle Big Bear”
However, Ancelotti’s career had seen some breathing holes in recent years, at Napoli (2018-2019) and then Everton (2019-2021), clubs of a lower standard than the Italian’s habits after being – relatively – at the top of Bayern Munich had failed in 2017, he won the Bundesliga.
Maldini, former AC Milan captain, often described him as a “nice big bear” who can’t shed blood: “It can only happen when he eats, because as soon as he has a fork in his hand, it takes an army, to stop him!”
It is this calm, this bonhomie and also an immense experience in human leadership and tactical science (his famous “Christmas tree” scheme) that has earned Ancelotti, who is supported on a daily basis by his son and second-in-command Davide, the support and affection of the heavyweights the real dressing room.
That wasn’t enough in 2015 to save his head after a disappointing second season.
But the love story between Carlo Ancelotti, whose wife is Spanish, and the “White House” was not over yet.
And when his former assistant Zidane, who became a three-time C1 winner on the Real bench, left office last summer, President Florentino Pérez remembered “Carletto” used to the peacemaker costume.
In 2013, his talent as a diplomat had helped heal the wounds of a Madrid dressing room set on fire and bloodshed by his predecessor, José Mourinho.
At Paris SG, where he signed in December 2011, he failed to win the French championship in his first year before succeeding in 2013, rewarding the Qatari owners’ ambitious investments.
And within the Chelsea of sophisticated Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich (now gone), he won a double Championship Cup from England before being thanked in 2011.
“After Real I’ll stop”
However, the club of his life remains AC Milan, where “Carletto” revealed himself.
First a player in the shadows between 1987 and 1992, then a manager between 2001 and 2009, the technician spent 13 years at the Lombard club, where he embarked on diplomacy – and intrigue – down the hall.
As a player, this needy midfielder (26 caps) under the legendary Arrigo Sacchi won two C1 victories (1989 and 1990) before becoming his assistant on the bench for Italy, who finished runners-up at the 1994 World Cup.
As a coach, the former Parma and Juventus technician (1999-2001) clinched the Rossoneri’s record with an Italian Cup in 2003, a league title in 2004 and two Champions League titles in 2003 and 2007, as well as losing the 2005 Liverpool final.
After his fourth C1, the wine and gastronomy-loving bon vivant can no longer imagine staying in the world of football.
“I would like to spend time with my grandchildren, go on vacation with my wife, there are so many things that I have neglected and that I would like to do,” slipped the Italian, who is under contract until 2024, to the microphone in early May Amazon Prime Video. “After Real, yes, I will probably stop. But if Real keep me here for ten years, I will train for ten years.”
© 2022 AFP
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