Ancelotti’s spiritual journey

By on June 6, 2011

Carlo Ancelotti announced his  decision to take a break. A 1-year break. The mastermind behind Milan’s European success during the 2003 – 2007 period, needs a new challenge in his life. The Italian manager revealed to La stampa that:

“I have been working non-stop since 1995, bar a short period of six-months. I will now take a year off and look around a bit.”

I’ll admit: I’ve never been his biggest fan. In fact, I’ve never been his fan at all. His decision to bench Rivaldo during the 2003 Uefa Champions League final at Old Trafford was simply cruel. I was extremely disappointed by Ancelotti that night. The Brazilian had a poor season, I agree, but in the previous summer, Rivaldo had won the Fifa World Cup.

Ac Milan won the 2003 Uefa Champions League final, at the end of the most boring final of the last decade. As a fan of Sacchi’s and Capello’s Milan, I had difficulties expressing positive feelings regarding this success. In the 87th minute, Ancelotti decided to substitute Portuguese playmaker Rui Costa for the defensive midfielder Massimo Ambrosini. It was Milan’s 3rd and last substitution of the game. Cameras showed images of Rivaldo’s frustration to be left out of the final. It was Rivaldo’s only chance of playing in a Uefa Champions League final. I felt horrified by the manager’s decision.

In the early stages of the competition (third qualifying round), Ancelotti’s team barely managed to squeeze past Czech outfits Slovan Liberec, on away goals. Yet, the Italian manager succeeded and won the prestigious trophy.

The following season, he won the Serie A, Milan’s 17th scudetto with Andriy Shevchenko scoring 24 goals in the league. Milan failed to retain the Uefa Champions League, losing to a brilliant Deportivo La Coruna side in the quarter-finals of the competitions.

In 2005, Ancelotti helped Milan reach the final of the Uefa Champions League, only to lose to the brave Liverpool side, despite leading 3-0 at half-time.

The two teams met again in the 2007 Uefa Champions League final and Milan won the game 2-1 thanks to a brace from Inzaghi. Kaka’s form during the 2006-2007 season is legendary. Under the guidance of Ancelotti, Kaka was a ‘crack’, a true gem of modern football. I have to thank Ancelotti for this, as Kaka was definitely a joy to watch. Do you remember Kaka’s second goal at Old Trafford?

With Chelsea, Ancelotti managed to win the Double (Premier League and FA Cup) during his first season in England, but ended the 2010-2011 season without silverware and was sacked by Abramovich.

There were rumors that several clubs were interested in him, especially As Roma (he played for the Giallorossi between 1979-1987), but he chose to take a year off.

The reasons behind his decision to take a break are unknown; he said that he would remain in London and keep an eye out on his colleagues.

Perhaps, he needs more time to spend with his family, as he has suffered several personal shocks in the past few years. In 2008, he divorced his wife Luisa, ending a 25-year marriage. In September 2010, Ancelotti lost his father. Before his father’s death, an emotional Ancelotti declared that “this is life”.

Perhaps, football burnt him up and he no longer has the desire to compete at the highest level. He could have a go with a smaller club.

Although, I am not Ancelotti’s biggest fan, I need to disagree with Abramovich’s decision to sack him: he managed Chelsea in 109 games, winning 67, drawing 20 and losing 22. He has had a 61,46 winning percentage (the highest in his managerial career). Not bad though. He’s not the “Special One” but he did won the Double with Chelsea in his first season, becoming the second non-British manager to win it.

His decision to take a year off should not transform into his retirement. It would be a shame.

Dear readers, please feel free to share your thoughts on the matter.

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