Ed.note: This is a follow-on to the post looking at the pros/cons of Nagelsmann, Luis Enrique, and Pochettino. It was originally written as one piece, but I broke it into two. After Ancelotti’s Real Madrid easily dispatched us on Wednesday, the assessment feels even more appropriate.
My pick: Carlo Ancelotti
This may be raising a lot of eyebrows (pun intended) but I truly believe he is the right man for the job at this current time.
There are rumours that Real Madrid may not extend his contract and he has been linked with the Brazil head coaching job. As such, we might have to wait until the end of the season to get him.
There is one thing which makes Carlo Ancelotti very different from a Pep or a Conte. He is a very collaborative person who listens to his players, to his owners and to his staff.
Winning, winning & winning
Ancelotti is one of the most decorated managers in the history of the professional game, and should be spoken in the same as all the other managerial legends past, present, and future.
He has won a league title in all five of the major leagues: England, Spain, Germany, France, and Italy. He has won the Champions League four (4!) times, adding numerous domestic cups as well. He is often overlooked in the conversation of greatest managers because he doesn’t have a distinct style of football. His tactics at Milan were very different from his time at Chelsea, which is different to his time at Madrid.
There are hundreds of stories of Carlo’s amazing man-management. He is not your usual, micro-managing kind of “tracksuit” manager — despite being a former and very good player himself — but that doesn’t mean he can be easily outclassed in tactics. He understands the game as well as any other tactical manager but he believes in his style of football: put the player in their best position and your team will do well.
That’s why it’s so difficult to relate Ancelotti to any one tactic. He has worked with a plethora of unique and individualistic players; hence, he has had a plethora of different tactics and systems.
He is also largely collaborative with his owners and often imposes a calm, confident aura. In the massive chaos that Chelsea are currently in, he could be the calming presence that will get the best out of the squad and help us get back to the top.
He may not have created unique tactics like Guardiola or Klopp or Tuchel, but he did beat all of them in last year’s Champions League to win the whole thing. And he also beat an Messi-Neymar-Mbappé-powered PSG who were flying high before being met with an iconic eyebrow raise.
And speaking of iconic, Ancelotti can still lay claim to one of the most fun Chelsea teams of all time, which scored 103 goals on our way to the Premier League title in 2009-10 season. He got Didier Drogba to score 29 Premier League goals (37 in all competitions, both career highs) and Frank Lampard to score 22 league goals (27 in all competitions; again, both career highs) that season, while also adding 14 league assists. Ancelotti’s Chelsea, lining up usually in a 4-4-2 diamond formation, were perhaps the most free-flowing team we have ever seen at the club.
But it does not end there. Ancelotti also turned Angel Di María from a good winger to a terrifying left-sided midfielder in a 4-3-3 formation. This led to Real Madrid winning their 10th Champions League title, something they waited for more than 12 years before Ancelotti came along.
He has done this time and time again. Under him, Vinicius Jr. went from a good but wasteful player into a huge goal threat. Simply put, Carlo Ancelotti reads the game as well as anyone out there; he just doesn’t believe in tactical micro-management.
Ancelotti has been around for a long time. And at 63 years of age, he may not be managing for as long still as some of the younger candidates.
That also means that he might not dance to the tune of Boehly as much as a Nagelsmann or a Potter might, but is that really what’s needed? Ancelotti is still very collaborative and an ultimate professional, just not a yes-man like Potter.
Bu we don’t need a yes-man. We need a collaborative, knowledgeable, and experienced manager, who can manage upwards and show his superiors the ropes of European football, while not blowing his head off like a Conte or other explosive managers in the process, and also create a fun, exciting, successful team at the same time.
That’s exactly who Ancelotti is, a perennial winner capable of being and beating the best in the business through his quiet leadership.
Ancelotti is the only manager out there who is capable of both listening and teaching, in a calm and composed manner, while still being capable of winning. He is a true winner. A composed presence. A manager who is capable of getting the best out of everyone as he has shown time and time again.
A great, more in-depth video on Carlo Ancelotti; a must watch: