Friday January 17 2014
Ancelotti: 'Pirlo and Baggio'

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said Andrea Pirlo is the “most intelligent player” he worked with and his big Roberto Baggio regret.

The Coach spoke to the Financial Times in a far-reaching interview in which he dubbed football “the most important of the less important things in the world.

“Usually the most intelligent player is a midfielder. I could say Pirlo, I could say Xabi Alonso, Thiago Motta, Didier Deschamps. All midfielders.”

A disciple of Arrigo Sacchi, Ancelotti admits his early attachment to the 4-4-2 system made him too intractable and he learned a valuable lesson when he turned down the chance to sign Baggio for Parma.

“I said, ‘No, you have to play striker.’ Baggio went to another club. That year Baggio scored 22 goals – for Bologna! I lost 22 goals! Big mistake.”

Another regret could be considered the 2005 Champions League Final in Istanbul, when Milan fumbled a 3-0 lead within six minutes to draw 3-3 with Liverpool and eventually lost on penalties. However, he doesn’t see it that way.

“The team had done the maximum to win this game. So I couldn’t be angry. I think this was destiny.” What can you do when in six minutes they score three times? It’s impossible to change something, because there is no time.

“I was a manager for 800 games in my career. If I had to choose two games that my team played really, really well, it would be this game. Another was the semi-final in 2007 against Manchester United.”

Former Milan and Chelsea boss Ancelotti revealed he made a pact with Jose Mourinho not to criticise each other and how he adapts to different countries.

“In England, in general, teams have less tactical skills defensively. In France, the teams are hard, physically, because there are a lot of African players. And in Spain, teams have the pleasure to play football. You have to adapt your methodology to these differences.”