Led by a dazzling Karim Benzema, Real Madrid, fresh from their 35th Spanish league title, have also been able to count on Carlo Ancelotti this season. Back on the Madrid bench last summer, the Italian, long limited to a simple role as leader of men, was able to prove that he was much more than that and that he too could dictate the pace of a match by his choice. An asset that could well benefit White House in 48 hours as he rejected Manchester City to reach the Champions League final.
If Karim Benzema could well get a Ballon d’Or at the end of the season, Carlo Ancelotti did not wait until the month of June to continue writing his legend and write history a little more. In addition to allowing Real Madrid to conquer a 35and home title, a record, the Italian technician simply becomes the first coach to win the five Big 5 championships (he had already won Serie A in 2004 with Milan, Premier League with Chelsea in 2010, Ligue 1 in 2013 with PSG and finally Bundesliga in 2017 with Bayern). A colossal achievement for a man, certainly recognized for his eyebrows, but often defined as a leader of men devoid of any game philosophy, but the native of Reggiolo is nonetheless an excellent tactician endowed with a formidable adaptability.
“The most important thing is the players. They are the ones who will transfer your idea to the field.” Carlo Ancelotti
If the former PSG coach has long seen this reputation cling to the skin, he also owes it largely to those he had under his command. A few days before he was fired by Real Madrid in 2015, the Italian had thus received support from Cristiano Ronaldo in an interview with ESPN: “At first I thought he was a tough guy, a little arrogant, but he’s the opposite, he’s like a big bear, a great guy, very sensitive.” The Portuguese is far from an isolated case. A few weeks earlier, as Don Carlos Real was preparing to face Juventus, Andrea Pirlo, who is the center of the Torino club, also made his declaration of love in Gazzetta dello Sport : “He’s like a father to me.”
Also in the French capital, Ancelotti will have marked his players. Freshly retired, Christophe Jallet is also developing this page when, in 2020, he pays tribute to his former coach in the columns on The team : “He understood that in football today, the most important thing is perhaps to succeed in gathering a group behind him. This is its great strength. » Ancelotti himself recognizes this trait in an interview given to the same daily as his former right-back: “The most important thing is the players. They are the ones who will transfer your idea to the field. That means you can not settle for a professional relationship, but expand it to something more intimate.”
“With Zidane, I tried to change my perception of the system. He is the first player who gave me the opportunity to play differently.” Carlo Ancelotti, fan of double Z
Zidane and Christmas tree
If he has done nothing to get rid of this image, the Real coach deserves a little more recognition in many aspects. Among the coaches who belong to the world elite, Pep Guardiola has his tiki takaJürgen Klopp hans counterpressing, when José Mourinho had a formidable ability to ruin the opponent’s play, even though it’s faded a bit over time. All are thus connected with a philosophy, more or less pleasant. Next to that, Carlo Ancelotti may seem very bland, he who is not really associated with any game principle, but the Italian has learned to become an excellent tactician who is able to adapt to almost any situation. But in his early days, Carletto continued to get his teams to play in 4-4-2, before for the rest of his career choosing a version of 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1, which would be fame: the famous Christmas tree.
A tactic he uses everywhere he goes, but more automatically. A change due to his meeting with the one who becomes his deputy more than fifteen years later: “With Zidane, I tried to change my perception of the system. He is the first player to give me the opportunity to play differently.he told Sky Sport. When I had Zidane, in my first year at Juventus, I played 3-4-1-2, with Del Piero and Inzaghi in front and Zidane a little behind. The second year I played with a four-man defense, but kept two strikers in front and a number 10 as Zidane. He changed my idea of football. Before Juventus, I was so focused on 4-4-2, after I changed with Zidane. I wanted to place him in the best position so he could be more comfortable on the field. » Instead of adapting his men to his system, the technician adapts his system to his men.
England as a playground
To be convinced, just take a look at his time at Everton. Adjusted for 4-3-3 at the start of the season, the Caramels so go to 4-4-2, or even 3-5-2, sign especially a prestigious success on Anfield’s lawn in February 2021. In the north of England, Ancelotti has to do mainly according to the state form of two of its pillars: Allan and James Rodríguez. A rather profitable tactic in light of the recent results from the residents of Goodison Park, as his flock finished in tenth place just three points from the last European place occupied by Tottenham, as number seven. Recently, Don Carlo has once again showcased this tactical science acquired over the course of his experiences. While he almost always develops in his immobile 4-3-3, symbolized by the Casemiro-Kroos-Modrić trio in midfield, the Italian decides to line up a 4-1-4-1 at Stamford Bridge to challenge Chelsea in the first part of the Champions League.
The Brazilian then takes his place as a guard, in front of the defense, as the two “grandparents” in the middle receive support from Valverde and Vinícius Júnior to form a row of four. The Uruguayan then allows Madrid to be superior in the heart of the match against Kanté and Jorginho. Result ? That White House leaves London with a decisive advantage (3-1 victory), which will allow him to make it to the semi-finals, not without some intimidation on the return. In 48 hours, it’s Manchester City’s turn to appear on the Bernabéu’s lawn with this time the benefit of the scoring. Hoping to defeat Citizensled by their philosopher Pep Guardiola, and partying in Saint-Denis at the end of the month, Real will of course count on Karim Benzema, a true handyman for Meringue this season, but also and above all on the battle plan that Carlo Ancelotti will complete.
By Florian Porta