Respected by all, serial Champions League winner and all-round good egg: it’s the seasoned Italian who's facing a brand new challenged in Bavaria next season
When Pep Guardiola’s departure at the end of the 2015/16 season was confirmed late last year, it wasn’t at all surprising to see Bayern Munich turn to Carlo Ancelotti as his successor.
The genial and gentlemanly Italian is a manager made for the superclubs of European football, with Juventus, Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and now Bayern having entrusted him with the top job in the last two decades.
He’s always proved popular with players, his lack of ego allowing him to bring big personalities together in the dressing room, and it’s hard to find fans or members of the press pack who aren’t fond of him.
Ancelotti may have been out of work for the last year, but his impressive track record makes him worthy of his place high up this list.
All that glitters
He’s always proved popular with players, his lack of ego allowing him to bring big personalities together in the dressing room
The former Italy international took his first steps in coaching with Reggiana, whom he guided to second-tier promotion in 1996. That triumph persuaded Parma to install Ancelotti at the Stadio Ennio Tardini the following season, when the Gialloblu finished just two points and one place behind Juventus at the summit of Serie A.
He then took charge of the Turin giants, and while the two-year marriage between club and manager never really worked out – far from it: fans unfurled a banner that screamed “A pig cannot coach. Go away” – it didn’t prevent Milan from choosing Ancelotti as Fatih Terim’s replacement in 2001.
The appointment proved a masterstroke, with the Rossoneri winning two Champions Leagues, a Scudetto and a Coppa Italia during Ancelotti’s eight years at the helm. His Milan sides were invariably brilliant to watch, with Andrea Pirlo, Kaka, Rui Costa and Andriy Shevchenko just some of the attack-minded players who excelled at San Siro under his tutelage.
Ancelotti’s next two stops were in England and France, where he won league titles with Chelsea and PSG, before beginning his most recent job at Real Madrid in 2013. He added another Champions League medal to his haul in his first season, but Madrid’s gratitude for helping them end a 12-year wait for their 10th European Cup expired after just 12 months, and the Italian was harshly sacked in the summer of 2015.
The major criticism of Ancelotti is his rather average record in the league, with only three titles won in over 20 years of management. Given that he’s taken charge of some massive clubs in that time, it’s a pretty disappointing return.
Carlo does his best Cristiano
Bob Paisley is the only other manager to have won three Champions Leagues, though, and Ancelotti will probably pull clear of the ex-Liverpool boss before he retires. The 57-year-old’s style of management is seemingly better suited to continental competition than the more gruelling and long-winded demands of a domestic championship.
It’s with good reason that the Italian is seen as a safe pair of hands, however, with his proven ability to win trophies and bond teams in different countries meaning he’s continually coveted by Europe’s biggest sides.