Carlo Ancelotti was surprised to be given the Napoli job, admitting when President Aurelio De Laurentiis called “I thought he was joking”.
The Champions League winner replaced Maurizio Sarri on the bench in the summer, but he didn’t expect to be arrive at the San Paolo.
“I wanted to go back to speaking Italian,” Ancelotti told DAZN, after spells in France, England, Germany and Spain.
“Maybe that’s one of the things that pushed me to accept this place. From a technical and tactical point of view, there’s no problem in speaking English, but for emotional and psychological talk, Italian is ideal.
“De Laurentiis? When he called me to Napoli I thought he was joking, but everything happened very quickly.
“The President and I had spoken for years, we’d already spoken when I unsuccessfully tried to take [Edinson] Cavani to PSG…
“This summer we also went on holiday together. He’s a President who has become passionate with time, now he follows everything and is informed about everything, but he knows how to delegate.
“He’s a very frank person, very sincere and very funny.
“Do I want Cavani now? I don’t talk about players from other teams, but I’m very happy with the forwards I have.”
Ancelotti replaced Maurizio Sarri, whose side got 91 points last season.
“The land wasn’t just well ploughed, there was already luxuriant grass. The work Sarri did has been of fundamental importance.”
Captain Marek Hamsik was close to leaving this summer, but Carletto convinced him to stay.
“I knew he had this offer to go away, so I explained to him that he was an important player and I would like it if he stayed,” Ancelotti explained.
“I told him I wanted to change his role, and maybe that’s what convinced him to stay: he wanted to try something new.”