Carlo Ancelotti is number 13 in 90min’s Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next three weeks.
‘The Diva Whisperer’, football’s great avuncular uncle, Carletto’s legacy
From Milan to Madrid to Munich, it seems almost no-one has a bad word to say about Ancelotti. He is the manager the very best love to play for.
His detractors might say he has been in right place at the right time (with the right squads) but Ancelotti’s great trick is
“People say that I was a banner for AC Milan. If that’s true, then he was the wind that made me flutter.”
– Paolo Maldini
“Whenever I talk about Carlo I can’t help but smile, because he’s a fantastic coach and person.”
– ?Andriy Shevchenko
“For me, he was more than a coach. There was something that went beyond the link between a player and coach. I’d call him in times of difficulty. [As a manager] I have to eat more pasta to get to his level.”
– Gennaro Gattuso
|?Intertoto Cup (1999)|
|Coppa Italia (2003)|
|Serie A (2004)|
|Champions League (2003, 2007, 2014)|
|Club World Cup (2007, 2014)|
|?Premier League (2010)|
|?FA Cup (2010)|
|?Ligue 1 (2013)|
|?Copa del Rey (2014)|
“He taught me to be like an athlete, how to eat and sleep.
– Hernan Crespo
“I had the calmness of Carlo Ancelotti who told me the night before [the 2007 Champions League final]: ‘Pippo, in the final you’ll score two goals’.
– Filippo Inzaghi
“He grants very, very, very many liberties because he wants his players to be more creative. He has a clear idea of how you should play and a concept of how you should live. But he also knows that he has 25 individuals to look after.”
– Sami Khedira
– Iker Casillas
“He gave me responsibility and I believe he has appreciated me. I had some frank talks with him – and that’s how a special relationship was born
– Florent Malouda
“I’ve worked with a lot of coaches in my career, but one man stands out, and that’s Mr Ancelotti. When I joined AC Milan I didn’t play for six months. But I was training under a great coach in Carlo Ancelotti. I can’t stress how important those six months were – they changed my life.”
– Thiago Silva
– Andrea Pirlo
“He has it all, the complete package. He has authority, experience, and is a global player.
– Michael Ballack
“He’s like a big bear. He’s such a sensitive person. He spoke with us every day. Not just with me but with all the players. He had fun with us.
– ?Cristiano Ronaldo
“He is the only coach I have had who has such an excellent rapport with his players, even more so than Jose Mourinho
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic
“What I really loved about Carlo was his man-management.
– John Terry
“He is the best coach of all time and I am delighted for him that he won ‘La Décima’ with Madrid.”
– Alessandro Del Piero
“What I remember the most from Ancelotti is learning zonal marking. I was accustomed to only tracking the man, but with him I learned the right movements and posture. It’s difficult to stop Carletto once he starts giving you notes!”
– Fabio Cannavaro
– “I love Carlo – Carlo is the best for me. He is one of the most incredible managers and people.”
– David Beckham
– Zinedine Zidane
Little speaks more to the very human talents of Ancelotti the manager, in a sport that increasingly sees its personalities as statistics rather than people, than the testimonies of his players.
Some managers skills lie in building teams, finding diamonds in the rough or taking underdogs further than they have any right to go. However, Ancelotti’s gifts (natural or acquired) for communication, inclusion and a deeply personal touch have made him the ideal manager for dressing rooms crackling with the electricity of superstar talents who need a lightning rod to channel them.
It’s not particularly difficult to find positive quotes about most managers from former players, but the level of warmth, respect and gratitude for Ancelotti by the game’s best across cultures and generations is, well, enough to raise an eyebrow.
So, what of that famous eyebrow? What’s the story, Carlo?
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