Carlo Ancelotti would “very much love to be Roma Coach one day” or return to Milan, but won’t take a mid-season job.
The Coach is taking a Sabbatical after the Real Madrid sacking and sat down with the Corriere dello Sport to discuss his past, present and future.
“I would very much love to be Roma Coach one day, as it’s a team I love in a city that I love. I’d also happily return to Milan. They did call me, but I had to undergo a back operation and preferred to rest for a year.
“I am happy that I took the time off, as I really needed it. I am in no rush and in all honesty would not take a mid-season job into consideration. We’ll talk about it again at the end of the season, to set up a new adventure properly.
“It could be abroad too, as now I’m multi-lingual… I have no Real Madrid regrets, as I knew that without a trophy every year it'd be curtains. It was an honour.”
The connection to Roma goes back to his playing days, winning the Scudetto under Coach Nils Liedholm.
“I played initially as a centre-forward, then Liedholm moved me to midfield, where I felt much better. He was a great character and had taken me to heart, spending a lot of time with me. He gave me advice on tactical, technical and human levels.
“He had a formidable sense of humour and knew how to take the tension out of the team. It’s worth telling that to the Coaches of today, who live under constant pressure from the papers and the fans.
“With Liedholm there were no rigid rules or schedules and I think it’s right not to turn a football team into an army. Discipline works if it is founded on the responsibility of individuals and not on fines.
“Liedholm was so smart, he could sense excessive tension in the locker room and got the medics to tell a joke… In all honesty, he is the Coach I learned the most from, above all in terms of psychology and character. As for Arrigo Sacchi, I learned the most from him technically.
“I also learned leadership skills from my father, as he had a way of resolving issues without getting angry.
“The rumour that (Milan President Silvio) Berlusconi dictated the line-up to me is false. We discussed football, as he does know what he’s talking about, but I made the decisions.”
The fondness with which Ancelotti speaks of Roma highlights why he’d love to return as their Coach.
“The city was marvellous and the fans fantastic. When I got off the train and took a taxi to the club headquarters, then the fans started insulting the poor taxi driver because he must be a Lazio fan for wanting to get paid for the journey!
“They were wonderful years. We were a fantastic group and almost all remain friends. I have great memories and not just of the Scudetto.
“There are some regrets, as I was unable to take part in the 1982 World Cup and the European Cup Final against Liverpool at the Olimpico. I saw it from the stands and suffered so much for that defeat on penalties. I think there was excessive pressure in the city and people felt almost certain of the result.”
Asked to analyse the present, Ancelotti had “no doubts Marco Verratti is the best young Italian player.”