Pressure Now on Carlo Ancelotti to Make Florentino Perez's Galactico Dream Work

Tim Collins@@TimDCollinsFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2014

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MAY 23:  Head Coach, Carlo Ancelotti of Real Madrid speaks with Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid during a Real Madrid training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final against Club Atletico de Madrid at Estadio da Luz on May 23, 2014 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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When Florentino Perez initiated Real Madrid's Galactico era after his ascension to the club's presidency at the turn of the century, it was Vicente del Bosque who held the responsibility that now belongs to Carlo Ancelotti. 

Like the Italian, Del Bosque's holistic approach has always stood as the cornerstone of his managerial success. Perhaps unrivalled in his ability to foster cohesion and unity among stars, the Spaniard steered Los Blancos to their most successful period in the modern era, first integrating Luis Figo into the team after his controversial switch from Barcelona in 2000, before successfully doing the same with Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo in consecutive seasons thereafter. 

"He has a very good brain in assessing what kind of footballers his players are, what kind of people we are, how we all work together," Steve McManaman once said of Del Bosque.

Interestingly, those same words could quite aptly be used to describe Ancelotti, who, after one year in charge at the Bernabeu, is set to navigate through a situation strikingly similar to the one Del Bosque encountered more than a decade ago. 

GLASGOW, GREAT BRITAIN - MAY 14:  Real Madrid head coach Vicente del Bosque (left) talks to the press as Luis Figo looks on during a press conference at Hampden Park, Glasgow. The UEFA Champions League Final will be played between Real Madrid and Bayer Le
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After the capture of the club's eighth European title in 1999-00, the man currently at the helm of Spain managed to thrive despite the overbearing influence of the club's extravagant president, capturing two La Liga titles and adding a ninth continental triumph in three seasons that followed the initiation of the Galactico policy. 

But that wasn't enough for Perez.

"Del Bosque's profile is a traditional one," the president said at the announcement of the manager's sacking in 2003, per BBC.

"We're looking for someone with more emphasis on tactics, strategy and physical preparation. We believe that the squad we are building would be more powerful with a coach with a different character."

Essentially, Del Bosque's subtle methods didn't align with Perez's elaborate vision; his innate feel for the inner workings of the squad carried little context in a quest for unparalleled glamour. 

Ancelotti now faces the same gauntlet as the arrival of James Rodriguez is announced (in Spanish). He needs to utilise every ounce of his understated capacity to orchestrate chemistry and balance between the club's stars, at the same time satiating the president's desire to triumph amid a dazzling spectacle. 

How he'll complete such tasks with a squad assembled by an eccentric and trigger-happy administrator is anyone's guess. 

MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 26:  Carlo Ancelotti (L) holds up a Real Madrid shirt as he stands alongside president Florentino Perez while being presented as the new head coach of Real Madrid at Estadio Bernabeu on June 26, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Chief among the Italian's concerns will be the change in shape his team will need to adopt to cater for both Rodriguez and Toni Kroos. 

Excelling with a 4-3-3 after switching from a 4-2-3-1 in his early weeks in charge last term, Ancelotti will be left with no choice but to create a No. 10 role for at least one of Perez's shiny new acquisitions in 2014-15. 

Of course, it was that systematic switch which removed the need for a No. 10 that saw Isco's minutes dry up last season, resulting in a fluid front three that best harnessed the explosive capacity of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale on either side of the team's fulcrum, Karim Benzema. 

Due to the indulgence of Perez, however, that will now be disrupted; Ancelotti must tinker with what has already proven to be lethal, simply to cater for a squad he himself isn't building.

If there were suggestions that Del Bosque's authority and control were undermined by the president, history appears to be repeating itself for another decorated manager at the Bernabeu. 

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MAY 24:  Carlo Ancelotti manager of Real Madrid gestures during the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio da Luz on May 24, 2014 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Ancelotti will also need to decipher a method for maintaining Real's devastating work in attack, while addressing the problems that continue to prevent Los Blancos from regularly capturing the league title. 

Rather un-enviably, it's a task set to drive the Italian mad.

Amid the signings of Kroos and Rodriguez, it seems likely that Angel di Maria and Sami Khedira will depart, skewing the balance of Madrid's likely XI further forward.

Furthermore, Ancelotti's squad possesses an array of defensive assets returning from underwhelming, injury-interrupted or ghastly World Cup campaigns, heightening the sense that the team's most obvious flaw will again be evident in the upcoming season.

Of course, tournament football on the international stage presents vastly contrasting challenges to the weekly environment at club level, but Ancelotti will hardly have been inspired by what he saw from Marcelo, Iker Casillas, Pepe and Sergio Ramos in Brazil.

Also returning to report to the manager will be a recovering Fabio Coentrao, a reportedly dissatisfied—according to the Daily Mail's Oliver Todd—Raphael Varane and an athletically declining Xabi Alonso, who, despite his excellence domestically last season, found himself swamped in his holding role in Spain's midfield last month. 

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 22:  Head coach Carlo Ancelotti (L) of Real Madrid FC listens to a question beside Real player Xabi Alonso during their press conference at Valdebebas training ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg match agai
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

And yet dauntingly, those issues aren't even the biggest of Ancelotti's headaches. Instead, it will be meeting the expectations of Perez's evocative imagination that will prove most troublesome for Los Blancos' manager. 

This is a team, remember, that notched 104 league goals last season, the most of any team in Europe, cracking the ton in Spain for a fifth consecutive season to take the club's five-year La Liga tally to a truly absurd 532 goals. 

There's not a club on the planet that can match that. 

This is a team that wreaked havoc all over the continent, a team that smashed 10 past Galatasaray across two meetings, nine past Schalke and five past the defending European champions, Bayern Munich.

How devastating can it really get? Where do you go from there?

Expecting a greater attacking output again is like asking Tiger Woods to set a scoring average of 62 or Michael Jordan to average 45-a-game.

Yet, by signing Rodriguez, Perez has indicated that's exactly the expectation. Yes, the president wants to continue to elevate his club's notoriety and financial dominance, increasing revenue and corporate interest through the acquisition of the game's hottest properties.

But Perez is also chasing an unattainable perfection, believing the addition of more attacking talent will culminate in the world's most enchanting show.  

Ancelotti, through no fault of his own, is the man charged with not only the responsibility of creating such a spectacle but triumphing in unparalleled style amid such a storm.