5 Changes Ancelotti Would Make at Real Madrid
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Late last month Le Parisien broke a story linking Carlo Ancelotti with a summer move to Real Madrid. Not surprisingly, the international press quickly jumped on the news, and ever since, it has almost been assumed the current Paris Saint-Germain boss will be replacing José Mourinho at the Bernabeu ahead of next season.
Let’s continue with that assumption since it serves our purposes here.
Upon arrival in the Spanish capital, what adjustments would Ancelotti make? Would there be personnel changes? Would Cristiano Ronaldo be more likely to stay?
The following slides will address those questions and a few otheres. But one thing is certain amidst the speculation—Real Madrid under Carlo Ancelotti would look rather different than Real Madrid under José Mourinho.
He’d Bring a Gentlemanly Approach
Mourinho has never got on with the Spanish media.
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Rare is the occasion these days that Real Madrid manager José Mourinho engages the Spanish press, unless it’s to partake in a war of words.
The country’s media establishment loathes the Portuguese. They detest his arrogance, his mood swings and, most of all, his penchant for ignoring them whenever he thinks he and his team aren’t being covered favourably. They feel he disrespects them.
Carlo Ancelotti’s approach would be significantly different, and not just with the television cameras and newspaper men.
Yes, the Italian would be far more gracious with the media, but his gentlemanly bearing would also go a long way with the club executive, which is generally in a permanent state of exasperation regarding Mourinho and what they see as his childish antics.
He’d Encourage a Return to Sportsmanship, Especially Regarding El Clasico
Mourinho had a few epic clashes with Tito Vilanova.
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Rarely has the relationship between the country’s biggest clubs been so sour, so hateful.
Clasico matches between Real Madrid and Barcelona have typically offered entertainment and intensity well beyond the norm, but Mourinho’s arrival elevated the level of animosity between the archrivals to previously unthinkable heights. His clash with Tito Vilanova—then Pep Guardiola’s assistant with the Catalans—during the 2012 Super Copa stands out in particular, and his behaviour was mimicked by many of his players.
The statesmanlike presence of Ancelotti would restore the Clasico’s dignity while maintaining a healthy rivalry. And the Spanish national team, which is dominated by the Madrid and Barcelona camps, would thank him for it.
He’d Heal Madrid’s Dressing Room Split
Sara Carbonero has alleged there's a divide among the Madrid players.
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In late January, Spanish journalist Sara Carbonero—who happens to be the girlfriend of Madrid and Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas—told Marca there was a “split in the dressing room” and that many of the players didn’t “get on with their coach.”
Her comments only reinforced the popular belief that Mourinho had alienated several of his key players, including Casillas and Sergio Ramos, and that there was a divide between a handful of the club’s senior Spanish players and a group of others, including Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ancelotti’s presence would help heal those conflicts.
While at AC Milan he oversaw a group of high-profile players that included Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Hernan Crespo, Clarance Seedorf, Andrea Pirlo, Andriy Shevchenko and Gennaro Gattuso and ensured no one’s ego became big enough to be a problem.
You sometimes get the feeling Real Madrid would implode if Mourinho stayed on another year, but nothing of the sort would happen if Ancelotti was brought in.
He’d Restore Kaká’s Sense of Confidence
Kaka has struggled mightily since joining Madrid in 2009.
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Since making a €65 million move from AC Milan to Real Madrid, Kaká’s career has been one long tailspin into mediocrity.
The Ballon d’Or winner in 2007, he joined Madrid in 2009 at the age of 27, for what should have been the peak years of his career. But he never found a regular place under Mourinho and so far this season has started just five matches in La Liga, scoring once.
His Milan departure coincided with Ancelotti’s San Siro exit (he joined Chelsea the same summer) and a reunification with his former manager could be just the thing to restore his confidence, and help him get back in the Brazil side as well.
There are times Madrid seem to lack depth in attacking options, and a fit and firing Kaká would go some distance to addressing that.
He’d Convince Ronaldo to Stay
Cristiano Ronaldo has dithered over an extention to his Real Madrid contract.
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When Cristiano Ronaldo told the world he was “sad” back in October, one of the first places he was linked with was Ancelotti’s Paris Saint-Germain.
Of course, the connection had more to do with money, and PSG’s willingness to spend it, than anything else, but it also got Ancelotti talking about his admiration for Ronaldo and his desire to work with him one day.
“Ronaldo is the symbol of Real Madrid. But which coach could state he doesn’t want Cristiano Ronaldo?” he said at the time. (h/t SkySports.com)
Ronaldo would be more likely to stay at the Bernabeu if Ancelotti was the manager. Not that the 53-year-old would have direct control over contracts and wages, but the stability he’d re-introduce to the club would calm everything down at every level, making the situation a more enjoyable one for everyone involved.
At 28 years of age and among the best players in the world, Ronaldo doesn’t need the drama of dressing room rows and a disconnected coach. Ancelotti would give him the pat on the back he requires, and the Italian’s presence would be a calming influence all around.