EURO 2016 | ANCELOTTI
Ancelotti: "I've never seen Cristiano admiring himself in the mirror"
The coach looked ahead to Monday's meeting between Spain and Italy: "Spain are not as aggressive as they were four years ago. Italy can capitalize on that to their advantage".
Carlo Ancelotti reflected on his working relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo during the time the two were together at Real Madrid in his column in the Daily Telegraph. The Italian coach said that Cristiano "was a pleasure to manage" and singled out his professional attitude towards his profession as one of his great traits: "The rest of the world is obsessed with his image but I only saw a young man who always wanted to give the very best of himself".
Cristiano's self image: "I never saw Cristiano admiring himself in the mirror in the changing room or being obsessed about how he looked. For him, his number one priority was always winning the match".
Carrying weight in the Madrid changing room: "He cared about the team. He liked to be with his team mates after the game had finished and talk through what had happened – what had gone well, what had been not so good. He also liked to joke, too. We had a lot of fun over those two years. Even when you play for Real Madrid, and even when the world expects you to score in every game, that doesn't mean that you can’t have a joke sometimes".
Standing up to be counted: "When things go wrong on the pitch he does not try to hide it. That was the case when Portugal played against Hungary last Wednesday".
National pride: "He cares a lot about Portugal; that it matters to him as much as anything else. Sometimes, as a great player you have to be happy with that and that alone. It is not like you can change your country, even if you wanted to - if he was Spanish he would have won two Euros and a World Cup by now, perhaps even more".
Messi: "We didn't spend all our days at Madrid talking about Messi but I know that Cristiano respects Messi; he respects him a lot. In a way I think they need one another. Each one pushes the other to new heights, to new records of goal scoring".
Italy-Spain: "People keep telling me that Italy have a really hard draw facing Spain in the Last 16; my only response is, yes, but Spain have a really tough draw, too. Italy will play to their strengths in defence and close the space between the lines. They do not have the players to dominate possession".
Spain and Morata: "Spain cannot change. They play just one way - which is to probe and pass and keep the ball. They have tried to vary it a little bit in recent games with more direct passes to Morata. He is a good player who can do well. I did not have a lot of opportunity to play him at Madrid but he is the kind of guy who comes alive in the box, like Lewandowksi.
"Spain will control the midfield, I am sure. Iniesta and Busquets have been doing that for years. I have noticed though that as a team, they are not quite so aggressive as they were four years ago when it comes to winning the ball back again. Maybe Italy can use that to their advantage".
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