In the preview of the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals at the Etihad, Carlo Ancelotti He was the protagonist of the last installment of the program ‘Universo Valdano’ of #Vamos. The Madrid coach sat down next to the veteran Argentine ex-soccer player and ex-coach to go over many of his experiences and his way of understanding football.
His origins, his father in the cheese business. “I was a farmer, we had rented land and cows. The milk was to produce the Parmeggiano Reggiano. You had to wait for the cheese to mature for a year. He was a very calm, balanced guy, that has shaped my character”.
To Parma with 16 years. “My mother did not want to, she did not care about football at all. I spent four years in a school for priests, in the Salesians, I learned discipline, schedules… I learned to be responsible, before my mother or grandmother always helped me. I didn’t like studying, but I ended up as an electrical expert”.
be in football“It is not a sacrifice, it is a pleasure. You suffer a lot but you enjoy a lot. The other day they worried me about the national team, but I take energy from day to day, that’s what I like. The day the day I prepare the body for the suffering of Sunday, the day of the match. If you lose you cannot sleep and if you have won, how do you think about the good, then neither”.
Happy in Madrid. “I am aware that I coach the biggest club in the world, the demand is high and I have to accept it. In Napoli I felt fine, but coming back to Madrid was special, I never thought it would happen”.
His time as a player in Rome. “I had two knee injuries and was practically unemployed for two years. I had to put the heater on my knees before the games, he also put hot water on me. It is still a constant thought, the knee, now I have no pain, but I see if it swells or not, I do work in the pool…”.
At Milan. “At the last minute Capello left me on the bench and in the stands and I didn’t understand it. He told me that when he was a coach, he would understand. The players of my time had more desire to be a coach than those of now, it is more difficult for them to put themselves in our place”.
Sacchi. “There is a training session in Italy before him and another one after. He changed everything, the individual, the physical, the offensive and defensive tactics… One day he asked us what we didn’t like about training, we told him a game to have fun, and he left, he couldn’t stand it. A great coach, he changed the idea of Italian football. It was a defensive aspect, but not the catenaccio, it was in the opposite field. I remember that we played here in Madrid and they fell 24 times offside”.
Berlusconi. “His challenge was to win in two years and he did it. We won the European Cup in 1989 and 1990. I voted for him in Italy, he was a genius. He has hit me because he liked to talk about football, but they always came to me when things were good, never when they were bad. He told you about playing with three strikers… he wanted me to bring in Kaká, Inzaghi and Shevchenko. There was a legend that he made the line-ups for me and it is not true, a president has never told me to put this one or the other. I’ll explain it later, yes, it’s my obligation”.
being obsessive “I don’t have an obsession, I really like football, it’s my passion, but I try to handle things as simply as possible. Football for me is not complex, it is simple, also in strategy. Attacking is creativity, defending is organization. I can teach you more about the second, the first is creativity and I don’t want to obfuscate that talent. That Modric pass, I don’t have to say anything to him, or teach Karim how to get into the box. I don’t consider myself strict.”
The presidents. “There are some who are amateurs and others who are business presidents. Change the way you run the club. I prefer amateur presidents, because the structure of the club is similar to a family. Business clubs are more difficult to manage.”
Juventus. “They hated me for having played for Milan, sometimes I had to go out with the police. We didn’t win titles, I was second twice… It wasn’t an experience… The Moggigate? It seemed good to me that Italian football was cleaned up, there was no fair game. The Agnellis? Everything was fantastically organized there. I didn’t have a good time having played for Milan and Roma, but I learned a lot there as it’s a level club”.
The 2005 final and the comeback this season against Chelsea.“I told them that they were going to squeeze us and push us, there is a legend that we were celebrating it and it is not true. The emotional spirit exists. He was seen with us and Chelsea. We had a two-goal lead and you can prepare for the game as best you want, but these are things that happen. The first half against Chelsea was good, but what was missing? Well, the hunger to hurt. We had that in the first leg because we didn’t have that advantage. We had two individual failures that we hadn’t had all season, we broke the line of four with the two center backs when we came out under pressure, that’s incredible. What to do at rest? I’ve never experienced such a radical change from a game to half-time as in Chelsea’s second leg, it’s the magic of this club and the stadium”.
England. “The Madrid kit man feels the game more than the Chelsea kit man, it’s a good way to show the difference between how they are there and how we Latinos are. I learned a lot in England, we won the Premier and the FA Cup and two years later they fired me.
Abramovich. “I have learned that sometimes they get tired of your work and they are within their rights. It is a part of the job. It is just when there is no tuning. She was not an interventionist, she spoke very little and the relationship was respectful but very distant”.
The closeness of Carletto with his players. “It’s my character. I want to distinguish the person from the work. I have grown up respecting people. You cannot say that you are a footballer or a coach, you are a person who plays football or a person who trains. The work affects who you are, but I want to distinguish it well”.
PSG. “Leonardo calls me, I knew him from Milan. They had just bought it in Qatar. The story goes, French culture is not just football, there is rugby, horses… The French arrived half an hour before training and left half an hour later. We started to make a structure, put in a kitchen… I liked the project but in the second year they were not so happy with me. For a Champions League game that we had already qualified for, we lost a league game before that that we were winning, and they told me that if I didn’t beat Porto they would kick me out… I told them how they could tell me that, that breaks confidence. I decided in February that I wanted to leave, although they wanted to renew me.”
The arrival in Madrid. “We only won the Champions (laughs). Everyone tells me that Ramos’ goal is the most important in recent years. I am full of pride for coaching Real Madrid, it is special. As it was in Milan. Feel loved? I don’t know, I feel loved by the president, by the people in Valdebebas…”.
Florentine. “He is president of the amateur category. His success has never been had by another president, he is like Berlusconi, I will carry Madrid and Milan in my heart until he stops. The relationship between president and coach in this second stage is calmer and more balanced. For what he achieved and for his idea for the future of this club. It’s a team that never stops, or you celebrate quickly because… you have to hurry because you have to look straight ahead. That’s why he’s won so much, he doesn’t feel good about defeat, if that happens you’re going to lose”.
Longevity of the current footballer. “Those who trained you should be brought to trial, I went through fifteen operations, on my knees, cervical… They were training sessions that were massacres. Nowadays they have physios and personal chefs, they can play if they take care of themselves until they are 40”.
Naples. “It is the most beautiful city in the world to be on vacation. I trained and in the afternoon I took a boat and went to have dinner in Capri (laughs). It is a good club in Italy. His requirement is to be in the top four. In the second year I argued with the club for a concentration that they wanted and I did not. No conflicts, I don’t like to argue”.
Everton. “They have a very passionate crowd, I really like that, it was bad luck not being able to enjoy Goodison Park more. We scored 60 points, a miracle, but we won more away than at home. It was a good period. Liverpool is not Madrid, it was almost like living through a constant pandemic (laughs)”.
His son David. “He is very calm, like me. Very serious professional. He has understood very well what it means to be the coach’s son. Someone is always going to tell him, that he is there for that. We are a team, in the coaching staff. He has taken more responsibility to prove himself, that has helped him. He is getting the UEFA Pro title in Wales because in Italy the requirements are not validated, things of the bureaucracy ”.
Your talks. “We divided them into three 15-minute videos, one set piece, another opposing team and another game strategy”
How to improve soccer. “Cutting games. You cannot remove a Chelsea-Madrid or a City-Liverpool, with that I have said it. If one coach gets tired, they put another, but if Modric gets tired, you don’t go for a pass like that with the outside. If you do it with your hand you are not capable”.
Her future. “I want to be a university football teacher, to be given a title by UEFA or something, to give exams to those who think about football, to see if they know (laughs). When I stop training I will like something else, I have five grandchildren, I have married for the second time and we have not done many things, we have to do more, I want to enjoy with her. When I finish I will be a Madrid and Milan fan”.
The City. “There are two things, the happiness of being in the semifinals in this type of match, and the worry. If you’re worried, you’re dealing with what might happen.”
The Bernabeu factor. “In two different facets, in one that we had to overcome and in another that we had an advantage, it will help us. The last time against Guardiola we started here and he worked out well for us”.