Current Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Apart from having an excellent playing career playing at the highest level, Carlo Ancelotti can easily lay claim to being one of the greatest managers of all time. His track record includes domestic and continental honors with trophies in England, Italy, Spain and France. Almost all of these titles were won playing an attacking and effectively modern game.
The star quality of talent he has managed includes the likes of Roberto Baggio, Paolo Maldini, Frank Lampard, Arjen Robben, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Kaka. He has endured multiple successful games, but here’s a look at Carlo Ancelotti’s five most iconic matches as a manager.
#5 Chelsea vs. Wigan, Premier League, 8-0, Premier League, 2009-10
Chelsea celebrate during their 8-0 success over Wigan Athletic.
Ancelotti arrived at Chelsea with a huge reputation and had to manage a star studded Blues team. This included the likes of Didier Drogba, Nicholas Anelka, Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack, Petr Cech and Ashley Cole to name just a few.
He left after just two years, but became one of the most celebrated managers of the Roman Abramovich era in that time. Playing vivid and attacking football, Ancelotti’s Chelsea managed to usurp Manchester United’s stronghold on the Premier League crown. They scored 103 goals in the Premier League alone, with Didier Drogba scoring 29 and Frank Lampard adding 22 from midfield.
On the last day of the Premier League season, Chelsea were perched on top and had to avoid any slip-ups against Wigan Athletic. The Blues stylishly won the game 8-0, to emphatically announce themselves as England’s latest champions.
A ruthless hat-trick from Didier Drogba, a double from Anelka and goals apiece from Lampard, Salomon Kalou and Ashley Cole, rounded off a spectacular celebratory afternoon for Ancelotti’s Chelsea.
#4 Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich, 4-0, Champions League, 2013-14
A snap from Real Madrid’s 2013-14 Champions League semifinal win over FC Bayern Munich.
Preceding the dramatic final, the 2013-14 Champions League also saw Ancelotti’s Real Madrid take on Bayern Munich in an entertaining semi-final. Pep Guardiola’s feared Bavarian side were beaten by a resounding 4-0 margin at the Allianz Arena in what was a shock result for everyone concerned.
Los Blancos arrived in Germany on the back of a slim 1-0 lead from the first leg at the Bernabeu. Ancelotti set up the furiously quick Real Madrid frontline to counter-attack and that absolutely overpowered Bayern Munich’s back three. Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo each bagged a brace as the defending champions were shockingly bundled out.
The fact that this success came against former Catalan Pep Guardiola made the victory that much sweeter for Ancelotti’s Real Madrid.
#3 Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal, 5-1, Champions League, 2016-17
A snap from Bayern Munich’s victory over Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League.
Many would call Ancelotti’s spell at Bayern Munich a mixed bag, having fallen short of the Champions League crown during his one-and-a-half-year tenure. His solitary Bundesliga title win was not enough to keep his job, with an uncharacteristic dressing room fallout.
The high point of his German adventure was undoubtedly the 10-2 aggregate demolition of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in the 2016-17 Champions League Round of 16. Ancelotti once again played the famous Rolls Royce-esque free-flowing and brutalizing attack-minded game that he has trademarked.
Goals from Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, and a brace from Thiago left Arsenal humiliated. The humiliation was extended further when Ancelotti’s Bayern visited the Emirates stadium and won by the same scoreline once more.
#2 AC Milan vs. Manchester United, 3-0, Champions League, 2006-07
AC Milan players celebrate their 3-0 win over Manchester United.
Ancelotti’s legendary AC Milan team of the 2000s is still spoken of with great affection and appreciation by fans of European football. Winning his first Champions League title in 2003, Ancelotti looked set to dominate Europe until that famous collapse in Istanbul against Liverpool in 2005.
Having lost Andriy Schevchenko, Ancelotti evolved to playing a 4-3-2-1 Christmas Tree formation. This brought the very best out of attacking midfielders Clarence Seedorf and Kaká, in front of a three-man midfield which featured Andrea Pirlo as a creative playmaker. Pirlo was supported by hard-working defensive midfielders Gennaro Gattuso and Massimo Ambrosini.
The ghosts of Istanbul were expelled when AC Milan won the 2007 final against Liverpool in emphatic fashion. Enroute to the final, they played a dangerous Manchester United team in a blockbuster semi-final clash. Goals from a prime Ricardo Kaka, Seedorf and Gilardino ensured a dominant 3-0 win that took them to another final.
#1 Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid, 4-1, Champions League, 2013-14
Real Madrid celebrate their 2013-14 UEFA Champions League success.
Real Madrid had been waiting for more than a decade for their coveted 10th Champions League title. The quest for La Decima saw Fiorentino Perez spend in the billions to fulfill, until Ancelotti delivered in 2014. The Italian took them to the finals where they faced city rivals Atletico Madrid.
In a tense and tactical game, Diego Godin scored to leave Real Madrid chasing in a high pressure situation against a dogged defensive unit.
In the depths of extra-time, Sergio Ramos sprung up to bring Real Madrid’s dreams back to life. Soon, Angel Di Maria’s shot was dispatched by Gareth Bale in extra time. Marcelo scored another, running amok at a tired Atletico defense, and Cristiano Ronaldo capped it all off by scoring a 120th minute penalty.
Not only was La Decima achieved but it was done in a style and swagger that has become a trademark of Ancelotti’s great teams.