Carlo Ancelotti is enjoying a renaissance.
The Italian coach thought his days amongst the elite of the elite were over. His two most recent jobs before he returned to the Santiago Bernabeu last summer were with Napoli and Everton.
Both are historic football clubs but neither compete at the sharp end of the European game. Many viewed his appointment by Real Madrid this past close-season to be a place-holder, a safe hand designed to usher Los Blancos into a new era.
But he’s been a whole lot more than that.
Ancelotti has built a team that plays a simple, uncomplicated system with devastating skill. He’s fostered an atmosphere that’s gotten the best out of a talented group and enjoyed success both at home and in Europe.
Ancelotti’s Madrid won La Liga with four games to spare and will face Liverpool in the final of the Champions League on May 28th.
His success has led many to marvel at his longevity. The 62-year-old has, after all, been coaching since the mid-1990s. And Ancelotti, speaking to SiriusXM FC’s The Football Show, admitted that times have indeed changed since his days with Reggiana.
“I think that the methodology of training in football has changed a lot in the last 20 years,” he said. “So I’ve had to be ready to change my style and my idea of football, because the rules have changed. It’s a completely different sport. But what hasn’t changed is my relationship with the players. That’s the same.
“The important thing is the relationships you have with other people. I’m with my players every day – actually, it’s not right to call them my players. I’m with my friends every day. Because there’s the player and then there’s the person.
“Players are people playing football. When you ask most of them who they are they’ll say that they’re a player. But no, they’re men who play football. And sometimes I tell them that I put the player on the bench, not the man. If you’re a serious professional who respects the people they work with you’ll always come out top.”