Why Carlo Ancelotti deserves more recognition

It Is no secret that the game has changed and developed immensely over recent years, both in terms of the way football is played and how it’s perceived globally. These changes are largely down to the emergence of modern day managers with new and innovative ideals and philosophies.

With many people engrossed in a new method of football employed by the likes of Pep Guardiola, it can be very easy for traditional, old school managers to be forgotten about.

One man in particular, Carlo Ancelotti, started off in football like many other managers, as a player. Ancelotti, who was an attacking midfielder for the most part, went on to win 12 major honours for Roma and A.C. Milan.

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Following a successful playing career, Ancelotti pursued management, lifting almost every trophy there is to win. Most notably, he will be remembered in football for his time in Milan, but Ancelotti has also managed Reggiana, Parma, Juventus, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Napoli, where he is currently employed.

After managing in football for over 20 years now, let’s look at some of the reasons why Ancelotti will leave a legacy…

European pedigree

It is under no illusion that the UEFA Champions League is the most lucrative trophy to win in club football, and at elite clubs, managers are heavily judged on their continental success.

After finding his feet in management, Ancelotti was given the Milan job. It seemed to be somewhat of a gamble for Milan to employ Ancelotti, with only a UEFA Intertoto Cup on his CV at the time. However, in his full first season, Ancelotti won the Coppa Italia as well as his first Champions League trophy, beating his former club and fellow Italians Juventus on penalties.

Ancelotti made it clear to the A.C. fans that he wanted to restore the club’s European success that they enjoyed while he was a player. In the following three seasons, Ancelotti reached a Champions League quarter final, semi-final and another final; where they lost on penalties to Liverpool in that infamous night in Istanbul.

The Italian’s final Champions League win at Milan came two years on from that night in Istanbul, ironically seeking revenge against Liverpool in 2007. This time round the game was decided inside 90 minutes, 2-1 at the final whistle.

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Following their win in Athens, Ancelotti grabbed his hands on the UEFA Super Cup and later the FIFA Club World Cup, leaving no dispute that at the time, Milan were the greatest team in the world.

After resigning as Milan manager in 2009, Ancelotti managed both Chelsea and PSG before taking the role as Real Madrid manager in 2013. During his time in England and France, Ancelotti had domestic success winning both league titles but failed to secure either of them the Champions League, which would have both been the clubs first at the time.

In his first season at the Galácticos, Ancelotti won his third Champions League, assuring his place in history as one of only three managers to have won the ‘big ears’ three times!

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Nowadays, each manager in football can be identified by their own unique style of play. Take Pep Guardiola and Sean Dyche for example, two managers currently active in the Premier League but with completely different ways of playing football.

However, Ancelotti is different from the rest. One way that he has built his managerial status towards is his ability to take a certain group of players and play football to their ability and league, not having a set style.

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Ancelotti has experimented with multiple systems in his career, a 4-4-2 diamond at A.C., 4-3-3 at Chelsea, 4-4-2 at Napoli and more. Regardless of what formation he selects, Ancelotti can bring success with his various traits.

When reviewing Ancelotti’s CV as a whole, there is no reason why Ancelotti should go down as one of the greatest managers of all time, right up there with the legends of the game.

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His longevity is another trait that goes under looked. Who knows, Ancelotti may not be done in football just yet… could he still add a fourth Champions League to his name?

Matthew Butterworth


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