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Cool, cooler, Carlo Ancelotti ... a modern day managerial great

Real Madrid's coach Carlos Ancelotti celebrates their victory in Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City. Picture: Reuters

Real Madrid's coach Carlos Ancelotti celebrates their victory in Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City. Picture: Reuters

Published May 7, 2022

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Durban - Since the onset of the pandemic, most people have had their careers impacted negatively. That has not been the case for Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti who has used the time to establish himself as one of the greatest modern day football managers.

Along with Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola, Ancelotti is among a rare crop of individuals who were great players and managers. He is also among an elite group that won the European Cup as a manager and player. As a player, he is noted for a spell with AC Milan where he played under a man who went on to mentor him as a coach in Arrigo Sacchi. He was part of Sacchi’s Milan side that won consecutive European titles in 1989 and 1990.

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Just over a year ago, the Italian found himself managing Everton in the Premier League with his time as a manager seemingly on the wane. Few would have guessed that just over a year later, he would become the first manager to win all of Europe’s top five leagues. In addition, Ancelotti has a chance to win the Champions League with Madrid for a second time. He previously led Los Blancos to Europe’s premier club competition during his first stint with them in the 2013/14 campaign.

Ancelotti previously won the Serie A with AC Milan in 2003/04, the Premier League with Chelsea in 2009/10, Ligue 1 with PSG in 2012/13 and the Bundesliga in 2016/17 with Bayern Munich.

During his previous spell in charge of Madrid, Ancelotti ended the club’s 12-year Champions League drought, leading them to their 10th crown (La Decima) when they defeated Atletico Madrid in the 2014 final. The one thing that Ancelotti did not win in his first spell with Madrid was the La Liga which he has since also added to his cabinet.

Some critics will say that Ancelotti has only won his league titles because he has coached the best teams across Europe. While he has had the luxury of coaching some of the best players in the world across different generations, this should not downplay his achievements. He has proven that he can adapt to different leagues, cultures and nations, something that is not easy to do.

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More impressively, Karim Benzema has had his best season under the guidance of Ancelotti. The Frenchman has scored 43 goals in 43 games in all competitions this season which is his career best performance by a mile.

The 34-year-old’s previous best season goals tally was 32, recorded a decade ago. Benzema will be one of the frontrunners for the Ballon d’or award especially if Real win the Champions League and France have a deep run in the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

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Ancelotti has indicated that he is likely to retire after his spell with Madrid ends but there is every reason to believe that he can continue to win titles with Madrid.

“After Real Madrid, yes, I will probably retire,” Ancelotti told Prime Video, according to Diario AS.

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“If the club wants me here for 10 years, I’ll coach for 10 years. But then I would like to be with my grandchildren, go on vacation with my wife. There are so many things that you put aside when you choose this profession.”

@eshlinv

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