Saturday March 28 2020
Ancelotti predicts 'downsizing' in football

Everton coach Carlo Ancelotti predicts “downsizing” after the coronavirus pandemic and scoffs at the suggested preparation required to resume the season. “It’s a myth”.

Ancelotti left Italy in December, after being replaced at Napoli by Gennaro Gattuso and picked up a new project on Merseyside, helping Everton turn their season around during his first months in charge at Goodison Park.

Football has since come to a standstill and the former Milan tactician claims that this period will “change us profoundly” and predicts a decrease in ticket prices and salaries.

“We are all living a life that we were not used to and that will change us profoundly,” he told Corriere dello Sport. “I’m sure. We will all have to give ourselves a good downsizing, starting with football.

“Today, the priority is health, limiting the contagion. When you start again, when you finish, the dates… believe me, I don’t care. At the moment, that’s the last thing on my mind.

“I hear talk about cutting salaries, suspension of payments. They seem like inopportune solutions. Soon the economy will change, and that at all levels: The TV rights will be less, players and coaches will earn less, tickets will cost less because people will have less money.

“I repeat, what matters now is to fight the virus effectively. Then, of course, if it will be possible to continue the season, well, otherwise, amen.”

The resumption of the European Leagues have been widely discussed in the media and some reports suggests that the players will need up to a month to prepare in the event of a return.

Ancelotti laughs at the idea and points towards his Champions League winners from 2006-07, returning early from their holidays to qualify for the prestigious tournament after the Calciopoli scandal in Italy.

“It makes me laugh, the people who are always talking about the time to prepare. There are even those who are talking about three weeks of training. It’s a joke, the preparations are a false myth.

“I remember in 2006, due to the Calciopoli, how Milan fell out of the top four and withdrawn from Europe. Then, to help Lazio from relegation, they took away some of the penalty and we were forced to qualify for the Champions League.

“I had to call the guys who were on holidays, because four days later we would have to play Red Star [Belgrade].

“Cafu returned 24 hours prior and played 90 minutes. If you want, I can remind you how it ended in May. But I think you already know.”

Ancelotti also revealed that Milan were trying to bring Zlatan Ibrahimovic to San Siro that summer, but he ended up at Inter.

“I remember that in the summer of Calciopoli, we were trying to bring in Ibrahimovic, okay, okay, okay. And when [former CEO Adriano] Galliani finally managed to convince [former President Silvio] Berlusconi, Zlatan had already agreed a deal at Inter.

In England, fingers are pointed at Liverpool-Atletico Madrid in the Champions League and Ancelotti spoke to the Reds’ coach Jürgen Klopp about the round of 16 played in a full stadium.

“I heard from Klopp the other day, he told me that carrying out the game in those conditions was a criminal act, I think he was right.”

Ancelotti’s Everton lost 4-0 against Chelsea in their last match before the forced break and after a great start under the former Napoli coach, they endured a run of three winless games before football came to a standstill, leaving them 12th in the Premier League.

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