Carlo Ancelotti reveals why Napoli represented “the perfect solution for me,” Champions League regrets and keeping President Aurelio De Laurentiis in line.
The former Milan, Chelsea, PSG, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich Coach sat down for a lengthy interview with the Corriere dello Sport newspaper.
“I kept my arrival at Napoli secret until the last minute because De Laurentiis was deep in negotiations with Maurizio Sarri, so I had no intention of getting stuck in the middle of that situation. I was asked if I was available and I said yes.
“During that period, the only real offers I received were from the Italy squad and Napoli. I wanted to get back to coaching every day, so Napoli were the perfect solution for me.
“We held the negotiations via intermediaries, so the first time I met De Laurentiis was in the Rome hotel when I was going to sign the contract – and the Press caught me!”
The President, whose day job is a Hollywood movie producer, is known for his hands-on approach, but Ancelotti has the solution.
“Now we speak twice a week usually. The President wants to be informed and asks lots of questions. I told him that if he tries to dictate the line-up for me, I’ll sort out the casting for his next film. I think I’ll hire Robert De Niro, Ryan Gosling, Leonardo Di Caprio, Bradley Cooper, Chris Payne and our friend Zoe Saldana.”
Ancelotti was brought in to boost Napoli’s experience, particularly in Europe, but it didn’t help them avoid a group round exit in the Champions League.
“Anfield is a complicated stadium. Don’t forget that Liverpool put three past Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City there. We did everything we could, that’s what I told the lads at the final whistle, and let’s not forget how close we came to the equaliser in the final minutes.
“The real reason we went out was Angel Di Maria’s last-gasp equaliser in Paris, when we deserved to beat PSG. We were in a group with two potential Champions League winners and stayed in the running to the last second.
“In Serie A, we will try to the end, but if Juventus win it won’t exactly be a big change. Napoli have done great work and our director of sport Cristiano Giuntoli has performed miracles.”