Saturday November 9 2013
Ancelotti: 'Crazy to reject Baggio'

Carlo Ancelotti discussed his new book, tips Andrea Pirlo to become a Coach and admits he was “crazy” to turn down Roberto Baggio.

The Real Madrid boss releases ‘Il mio Albero di Natale’ – My Christmas Tree – a book focusing on tactics, man-management and training in his career.

“I have been coaching for 18 years and football has changed a lot in that time,” Ancelotti told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“The idea was to show how it mutated via my personal experiences. It is a book dedicated to Coaches, to those who love football and are curious to see from the inside how a team works.

“I am in the locker room every morning. I speak to some players, while others might be angry and it’s better to wait for them to calm down. It’s not an issue of controlling the squad, but of communicating and seeing if there are any problems.”

Ancelotti has often worked with over-bearing Presidents, but assured he never took orders on which line-up to adopt.

“Communication does not mean imposition. I like to talk to the directors about what I’m doing, have done and intend to do. This is information a Coach has the duty of giving to his club. Why is it interpreted badly? Because people amuse themselves that way.”

He certainly went against his club when Parma agreed a transfer for Roberto Baggio, only for Ancelotti to pull the plug, while he also let Gianfranco Zola go.

“Looking back on it now, I was crazy. How can you give up on someone like Baggio? I was young and didn’t have the courage to throw myself into something that I didn’t know well enough. I knew everything about the 4-4-2.

“In order to talk about tactics, you have to be convinced and credible. In every locker room there are players ready to be Coaches, such as John Terry, Thiago Motta, Thiago Silva, Andrea Pirlo and Xabi Alonso. Do you honestly think you can teach Pirlo something about how to prepare a game on a tactical level?

“The first major tactical change I made was for Zinedine Zidane at Juventus. I learned quickly...”

Ancelotti is now at Real Madrid and showing his versatility, though there is still a great deal of criticism in Spain.

“With Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, the best system is 4-3-3. Bale took a while to arrive, so at the start I sought a 4-4-2 for greater balance. With Bale I went back to the initial idea and now we need to find that balance. As we saw from recent games, there’s a lot of work to do!

“The counter-attack is the simplest way of creating a scoring opportunity. Clearly just using the counter means you don’t have an identity, but when there’s space for it with the strikers we’ve got, it becomes lethal. There is a certain demonization of the term in Spain and the word has to be used carefully.

“I was talking about Hernan Crespo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic told me: ‘He was a great striker, but not someone who can win a game by himself. There are only three of those: Ibracadabra, Messi and Ronaldo.’ Ibra is right.”

Milan are in crisis at the moment and today there will be a crunch meeting between President Silvio Berlusconi and his right-hand man Adriano Galliani.

“I think Berlusconi recognises all Galliani has done for Milan. They helped each other a lot, which is why what’s happening now is surprising. I think the best person to resolve Milan’s problems is still Galliani.”