Why Carlo Ancelotti Is the Natural Fit to Succeed Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid
Make no mistake, it has been a tumultuous season at the Santiago Bernabeu. An ever-continuing feeling of unrest, which has hung over Los Merengues throughout 2012-13, came to an astonishing head during Friday evening's bad-tempered Copa del Rey final defeat to city rivals Atletico.
Whilst a campaign which has seen a domestic cup final, a second-place league finish and a third successive European semi-final may constitute a good season for most, for Real Madrid it means nothing but failure. And the circumstances which have surrounded that failure have made it far from glorious.
The various squabbles between Jose Mourinho and his players, Jose Mourinho and the press and Jose Mourinho and just about everybody have exacerbated a disappointing campaign.
The Portuguese was hired in 2010 with the intention of bringing la decima to the Spanish capital—a record 10th European Cup. Although he has won one league title, one Copa del Rey, one Supercopa de Espana and has a win-ratio of just over 72 percent, they have hardly covered for the headaches and negative publicity that the Jose Mourinho show has caused.
Additionally, consider that Barcelona won eight titles during the same period, whilst any manager who has lasted for three years on the trot at Real Madrid has won more titles than Mourinho. A successful reign? Not by half.
According to the Independent, club president Florentino Perez attended Real Madrid B's home encounter with Lugo on Saturday and was "vocally encouraged" to bring Mourinho's three-year tenure to an end. Fans who have previously been his biggest supporters, particularly in his battle to get rid of Jorge Valdano, have had enough.
Paris Saint-Germain's Carlo Ancelotti is the main name in the frame. The Italian, a two-time Champions League winning coach with AC Milan, has asked to leave les Parisiens after guiding them to the Ligue 1 title. "I've asked to leave and I am waiting for their answer," the Italian is quoted as saying, according to BBC Sport.
Certainly, the rather demure yet likeable 53-year-old is the standout choice to replace the brash and brazen Mourinho.
Like Mourinho, Ancelotti is a proven winner, as league titles in three different countries (Italy, England, France) will attest, not to mention his two Champions League crowns with Milan and numerous other titles across his managerial career.
However, something very much in the Regiolo native's favour is that he comes without the baggage and the "look-at-me" approach which follows Mourinho. It is something that hasn't sat well with journalists in either Spain or Italy, as Martin Lipton points out in the Mirror, "Haughty arrogance is a trait he (Mourinho) carries as a badge of honour."
In that regard, Ancelotti is very much the chalk to Mourinho's cheese. He's a man who doesn't really care for giving great quotes, for whom press conferences are a pre and post-game requirement, rather than a chance to impress.
One of his great qualities has long been his ability to work harmoniously with his players—ask yourself when was the last time you heard anyone say a bad word about the man?
Ancelotti is a manager about whom those with which he has worked rarely have a bad word to say about, indeed quite the opposite:
"He's got my full support, I love Carlo," said Chelsea captain John Terry just days before his sacking by Roman Abramovich at the English club. (ESPN)
Asked about his manager's future after being named the best player of the Ligue 1 season, PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said: "I don't want him to leave." (BBC Sport)
Therefore, given the way in which Mourinho's relationships with certain players have broken down during his time at Real Madrid—Xavi Hernandez, the Barcelona playmaker, claims Mourinho treats his international colleague Iker Casillas like "dead wood," according to Marca—a manager who can unite the dressing room and act as a point of reference for the entire institution of Madrid, rather than merely for himself, is required.
As such, it is another box ticked very much in favour of the Italian.
Certainly, the feeling about Real Madrid is that they need to get back to being about the football.
Seemingly every day comes with another quote from someone connected with the club. The background politics and off-field problems have seeped ever more into the public domain. It's been like a return to Bayern Munich's FC Hollywood storylines of the mid-90s, just without Stefan Effenberg and Lothar Matthaus.
And Ancelotti is the man to help them achieve that. He's never been interested in airing his dirty laundry through the media. Rather, he quietly goes about his job, building a football team and trying to win football matches.
Should Carlo Ancelotti succeed Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid?
Critics will cite that he only won one Italian championship during his eight-year stint at the San Siro. However, his other successes were plentiful, whilst his pedigree in the European Cup, as both a player and manager, is the envy of all but very few.
La decima has proved all-encompassing at Real Madrid over the past three years, more so these past nine months. Under Jose Mourinho and his cult of personality it has proven unachievable, navigating the semi-finals always proving a bridge too far, no matter the opponent.
However, with the more mild-mannered Carlo Ancelotti and a unified dressing room, Madrid can return stronger next season. A ship divided will not succeed. The amiable Ancelotti would certainly be a natural captain.
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