Ancelotti, the curvaceous coach who became the biggest

Paris (AFP) – “Carlo never gets mad”: signed by his former player Paolo Maldini, the phrase sums up the personality of Carlo Ancelotti, a trophy eater and follower of gentle management on the bench at Real Madrid, who became the first coach on Saturday to get up. a fourth Champions League.

Summoned to the Madrid bench last summer, after a first spell (2013-2015) already crowned with a European crown, “Carletto”, 63 years old on June 10, has found a position that matches his talent to continue writing his legend.

His phlegmatic style, which his famous raised left eyebrow sometimes betrays, always pays off: at the end of April, “Il Mister” became the first coach in history to win the top five European football championships thanks to La Liga won with the real.

Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti is carried in triumph by Real Madrid players after his 4-0 victory over Espanyol Barcelona, ​​synonymous with Spain’s 35th champion title, during the 34th round of LaLiga on 30 December. April 2022 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium GABRIEL BOUYS AFP

The photo of the native of Reggiolo (northern Italy), white lock, sunglasses and cigar in his mouth among his hilarious players, set social media on fire.

“The players are my friends,” smiled the coach, and they returned him on Saturday.

With this new European crown, the Italian has established himself alone in the football pantheon by winning his 4th Champions League on the bench (2003 and 2007 with AC Milan, 2014 and 2022 with Real), ahead of the immense Zinédine Zidane and Bob Paisley (three trophies each).

“Big Gentle Bear”

Ancelotti’s career, however, has experienced some air holes in recent years, at Naples (2018-2019) and then at Everton (2019-2021), clubs of a lower standard than the Italian’s habits, after his failure – relative – to ahead of Bayern Munich, where he won the Bundesliga in 2017.

Maldini, former AC Milan captain, has often described him as a “big cool bear” incapable of bloodshed: “It can only happen when he’s eating, because once he holds a fork, it takes an army to stop it!”

Coach Carlo Ancelotti and striker Filippo Inzaghi celebrate AC Milan's victory over Juventus in the Champions League final on May 28, 2003 at the Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester
Coach Carlo Ancelotti and striker Filippo Inzaghi celebrate AC Milan’s victory over Juventus in the Champions League final on May 28, 2003 at the Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester PAUL BARKER AFP/Archives

It is this calm, this bonhomie, as well as an immense experience of human management and tactical science (his famous “Christmas tree” scheme), that earned Ancelotti, supported daily by his son and deputy Davide, the support and affection of the Real’s locker room heavyweights.

That wasn’t enough in 2015 to save its head after a disappointing second season.

Peacemaker

But the love story between Carlo Ancelotti, whose wife is Spanish-Canadian, and the “White House” is not over.

And when his former assistant Zidane, who became a three-time C1 champion on the bench at Real, stepped down last summer, President Florentino Pérez recalled “Carletto”, accustomed to the peacemaker attire.

In 2013, his talents as a diplomat helped heal the wounds of a Madrid locker room burned and spilled by his predecessor, José Mourinho.

At Paris SG, where he signed in December 2011, he failed his first year to win the French championship before succeeding in 2013, rewarding the Qatari owners’ ambitious investments.

Real Madrid's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti during a press conference on November 23, 2021 in Tiraspol (Moldova) on the eve of the Champions League match against Sheriff
Real Madrid’s Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti during a press conference on November 23, 2021 in Tiraspol (Moldova) on the eve of the Champions League match against Sheriff Sergei GAPON AFP/Archives

And within the Chelsea of ​​demanding Russian mogul Roman Abramovich (now deceased), he won a double FA Cup, before being thanked in 2011.

“After Real, I stopped”

The club of his life, however, remains AC Milan, where “Carletto” revealed himself.

First a player in the shadows between 1987 and 1992, then a coach between 2001 and 2009, the coach spent 13 years at the Lombard club, where he erupted into diplomacy – and intrigue – in the hallway.

As a player, this lacking midfielder (26 caps) won two C1s (1989 and 1990) under the legendary Arrigo Sacchi, before becoming his deputy on the bench for Italy, second at the 1994 World Cup.

As a coach, the former Parma and Juventus coach (1999-2001) dusted off the Rossoneri’s record with a Coppa Italia in 2003, a championship in 2004 and two Champions Leagues in 2003 and 2007, as well as a Homeric final. lost in 2005 against Liverpool.

After his fourth C1, it’s hard to imagine this bon vivant, a wine and gastronomy enthusiast, staying in the football world.

The joy of Real Madrid's Italian coach after the 1-0 victory over Liverpool in the European Cup final on 28 May 2022 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis
The joy of Real Madrid’s Italian coach after the 1-0 victory over Liverpool in the European Cup final on 28 May 2022 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis Anne-Christine POUJOULAT AFP

“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”, said in early May the Italian, with a contract until 2024, to the microphone of Amazon Prime Video . “After Real, yes, I’ll probably stop. But if Real keep me here for ten years, I’ll train for ten years.”

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