The Napoli coach gave an interview with Il Corriere dello Sport and spoke about how the influence of the French genius shaped his managerial career.
Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti, who has also been in charge at AC Milan, Chelsea, PSG, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, has explained during an interview with Il Corriere dello Sport how the influence of Zinedine Zidane altered his perception of the game when the two coincided at Juventus between 1999 and 2001.
“He changed the way I looked at football,” Ancelotti said of the 1998 Ballon d’Or winner, who was at the peak of his powers and had led France to World Cup glory a few months before the Italian arrived at Juve. “Before then, I had the opportunity to sign Roberto Baggio for Parma, who had a deal in place with the club. But I vetoed it. I had a style of football that put players in particular areas and did not include a player in the hole, which is the role that Roberto had asked for. If Baggio had arrived later in my career, after the turning point I had with Zidane, I would have happily worked with him. Baggio went on to become one of the greatest talents in the history of Italian football, but when I turned down the chance to sign him I had [strikers] Enrico Chiesa and Hernán Crespo.”
Ancelotti: "I tailor-made the side for Zizou. He changed everything"
When he teamed up with Zidane at Juventus in 1999, Ancelotti became aware of the importance of having a creative attacking player: “Zidane changed everything, because I placed the team around him. I tailor-made the side for Zizou. He changed my style of football. I owe everything to him.”
Years later, with Serie A, Premier League, Ligue 1 and Champions League titles to his name, Ancelotti moved to Real Madrid where he again worked with Zidane, on this occasion with the Frenchman as his assistant in 2013-14, leading the side to the long-awaited Décima.
“The eight years I was at Milan are above everything else, but if I am being truthful about the rest [of my career], I’d pick Real Madrid. Real Madrid is Real Madrid and every coach should have the opportunity to work at a club like that and in a city like Madrid.”