What Appointing Carlo Ancelotti Would Mean for Real Madrid
Either the most glaringly obvious managerial change since Carlos Queiroz was sacked after a trophy-less fourth-placed season, or the biggest red herring since Dimitar Berbatov was seen on a unicycle outside Manchester City's Etihad Stadium.
Jose Mourniho out; departing for England, where he's decided everyone will still fall at his feet with affection, with little more than directions to the airport from Iker Casillas and his new ally Pepe.
Carlo Ancelotti in; after leading PSG, although not yet mathematically confirmed, to their first Ligue Un title in 19 years and taking them to the brink of a Champions League semifinal.
In that latter note is where the Italian manager and the Spanish champions—at least that's what they remain for one more week—may find their common ground.
As a player, Ancelotti won the European Cup twice ('89 and '90). As a manager, he's won it twice too ('03 and '07).
He, in a similar vein to how Madrid are perceived to be aggressively pursuing La Decima, is involved in a less vigorous search for La Quinta—his fifth European Cup.
It all seems so easy. A match made above the clouds.
No doubt Marca and AS can see the headlines already, as Los Blancos begin a fresh page in the ever lengthening 'La Decima' chapter marshaled by their caped Italian crusader who himself has motives to return to the top of Europe's tree.
Not of course, that Mourinho's didn't have sufficient reasons to hunt down his third European success with a third different team from a third different country. He did. It just it seems that wasn't written as the end of the chapter.
Style wise, there will possibly be a fair amount of consistency. Ancelotti can't quite be pinned down for favoring a particularly formation of approach.
Silvio Berlusconi, Milan's president, criticized his defensive tactics in his early years as coach of Los Rossoneri, but that has certainly not been a theme which has recurred throughout his career.
At Chelsea his own insight suggested that defending was not at the forefront of his mind:
"Our system is a little different, we keep possession and play attacking football. Our aim is to keep control of the game with possession of the ball."
In fact, after retiring as a player and while a student at Coverciano in Italy, he published an academic essay called "Il futuro del calcio. Piu dinamicita."
The future of football. More dynamism.
That's a philosophy which would suffice in the Spanish capital; with the caveat that it would need to bring success.
PSG this season have a system unique to that deployed by most of Europe's biggest clubs. Not that that is tough, given many club's reliance on 4-2-3-1.
They play 4-2-2-2 and it perhaps says more about the versatility of Ancelotti than it does about the playing style of the French side.
From his successful diamond at the San Siro, to using more width at Stamford Bridge to his current formation at the Parc des Princes, the 53-year-old has adapted to his surroundings.
If we have not been led a merry dance and he's sat in the Bernabeu dugout for the start of next season, we will most like see evolution rather than revolution.
Players will come, players will go, but don't expect Ancelotti to radically overhaul the style which has made Real Madrid the nearly men of Europe under Mourinho.
At least not overnight.
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