Ancelotti – the patcher at Real
While Real was lost, Carlo Ancelotti suddenly returned and revived the European football giant, to go to the Champions League match with Liverpool this week.
A proof of the leadership art of Ancelotti happened in the Champions League semi-final second leg at the Bernabeu, when Real Madrid led Man City 2-1 and the match entered extra time. While Pep Guardiola waved his players in an arc, trying to explain what he needed from them, Ancelotti calmly walked past Marcelo and Toni Kroos on the bench and asked what they thought he should do in extra time. Because he himself didn’t know what to do.
Of course, if Real lose that game and Man City reach the final, the story can be reversed. There will be anecdotes about how Ancelotti was passive, and how well Guardiola planned the crucial phase of the battle. Ancelotti knows that, and is no stranger to the volatility of club games. But he was always the first to admit: The administrator’s first secret is that you need a little luck.
Even so, this is still an interesting contrast. The motto of today’s coaches is control: control the ball, control position, maximize intensity and press high. But in that moment, Ancelotti let go of this control, making important decisions in the most gentle way. “That explains why he is such a perfect leader,” Toni Kroos said after the game.
If I had to draw a portrait Ancelotti As a football coach in the most authentic way, it would be this image: a happy uncle with a cigar in his mouth, the type who can solve all problems, the man who knows how to cook delicious grilled meat. More broadly, the face is always calm before all fluctuations, an actor can play many roles on the stage – collected from many leaders of the same generation.
“For me, the most difficult period is about three to four hours before the game,” Ancelotti said on May 24, when asked about his experience in the Champions League finals. “It’s a physical instability. I have to deal with it more than usual this season, harder and more nervous. Negative thoughts creep into your head. But fortunately, that’s all over. when the game starts”.
This can only be present in the biggest matches with extreme pressure. Not only was Ancelotti kind to his players, but he also gave them supportive hugs. He not only adjusts his own plans, but also allows players to participate in decisions; Not only spreading his message to the players but also making it theirs.
At first glance, this might seem like a lack of courage to make big decisions, and it doesn’t seem to fit the typical leadership model we envision, which is always about detail. But from another perspective, it’s another example of courage: how confident you are in your ability to see people is enough to have the courage to give them the cane of power.
There is a story about Ancelotti during his time at Milan, when he was in the dilemma of using four world-class midfielders: Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf, Kaka and Rui Costa. After talking to each one, Ancelotti concluded: “You have to solve the problem yourself, otherwise one of you will be on the bench forever.”
After Ancelotti’s words, the aforementioned quartet appeared in a diamond-shaped midfield – contributing to bringing glory to the team, and partly setting the stage for Kaka’s Ballon d’Or and the 2007 Champions League win. after that. Perhaps, this method only works in teams with natural talents like Milan then, and Real now.
Certainly, Ancelotti has been fortunate to inherit a team of players who understand their position and responsibilities, who are ready to contribute and not complacent. The most surprising thing about Ancelotti during his second term at Real – after the first period from 2013 to 2015 – was how little players like Kroos, Macelo, Casemiro or Luka Modric changed, but their desire to play was different. Probably a season before.
Besides, Ancelotti’s ability to unite the divided team, associated with many political factors both on and off the pitch, has caused many coaches to be distracted. Remember the state of Real when Ancelotti landed: financially exhausted, criticized for a failed Super League coup, and in need of rebuilding. Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane leave, bringing with them 26 years of experience.
The Liga championship and the Champions League final place are thanks to the merits of veterans: Modric, Karim Benzema, Thibaut Courtois. But in truth, Ancelotti has shuffled the first team with an explosion of young players like Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, a duo both 21 years old, putting 24-year-old midfielder Eder Militao at the heart of defence, trusting Fede Valverde, 23 years old, in the midfield.
It all looks simple, but Real are the team that often let their young players rub themselves in other teams on loan, rather than using this mass. The older ones like Eden Hazard, Isco, Marcelo are slowly withdrawing from the main role, but when needed can still contribute to the team.
More than that is the atmosphere that Ancelotti built, with a very fresh and relaxed spirit. Accordingly, stress is a burden to avoid, and the coach can’t have the answer to every problem, so when the coach is stuck, the player can also voice his opinion, we all have our own time, and life is too short for hatred. “I’ve lived in this world of football since 1977,” Ancelotti said earlier this season. “I don’t have the time or desire for fights.”
Similarly, Ancelotti is said to be unable to build a stable team that can fight for many years and has a legacy. When he took over at Everton, many pundits criticized him as an old-fashioned man, a trophy kicker. But that’s not necessarily true. Ancelotti has won national championships in five different countries, and is loved around the world. He is facing the opportunity to become the first manager to win four Champions Leagues, when he plays with Real against Liverpool tomorrow on May 28. If that is outdated, then many young coaches today want to be like that.
Do Hieu (follow Guardian)
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