Having suffered from a plague of controversy and acrimony under the rule of The Special One, Real Madrid decided to turn over a new leaf, or at least a slightly different one. In Carlo Ancelotti, the kings of Spain have acquired the services of a man with a wealth of experience and an array of silverware to boot – fourteen trophies to be exact, including two UEFA Champions League titles during his highly successful tenure at AC Milan.
With such a meaty back catalog of success in his previous managerial positions, combined with an international reverence that makes him one of the most powerful managers in contemporary football, Ancelotti was a no-brainer for Florentino Perez, eager to coerce his longstanding critics over to his side after being awarded a fourth term as the club’s president in spite of the negative press he has received since taking power in 2000.
Whereas in 2010, Jose Mourinho was the type of glamorous appointment associated with Perez’s reign at Madrid, Ancelotti is a sensible choice. This is not to discredit the Italian, who is without doubt the apt selection and a seasoned professional, but he does not court the same level of celebrity as his Portuguese predecessor. Unlike Mourinho, Ancelotti is stoic, reserved, and calculated in his actions, aspects of which his new employers would have been craving in the past year or so.
Ancelotti represents a change in the Madrid dynamic, a reversion to the ethos of old that insists upon attractive, eye-catching football on the pitch. With Zinedine Zidane at his side, the team is sure to return to their swashbuckling ways, whilst also retaining the solidity and brawn that characterized Ancelotti’s Milan side that boasted the refined talents of Paolo Maldini, Cafu, and Alessandro Nesta.
Under Mourinho, Madrid played effective football that brought positive results more often than not, but failed to impress the Bernabeu faithful who looked on in envy as Barcelona strutted their way to European and domestic glory, charming all those who witnessed the ingenuity of their tiki-taka philosophy.
Madrid are not used to playing second fiddle, an affliction that Mourinho failed to overcome, and the supporters will be hoping that the new man in charge can steer them on the right path, affording supporters and the men in the boardroom with the triumphs that they expect year in, year out. Perez seems highly optimistic, overtly confident that he has snagged the right man: