Why Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid Is Different

Ask anyone in Spain about Real Madrid, and talk—glowingly or begrudgingly—will typically turn to a winning team. A vibrant, unshakable soccer institution well-versed in churning out trophy after trophy, prospering is in the club’s proverbial DNA.

While off the pace in La Liga, it will play the Copa del Rey final against Osasuna in Seville. It’s also going strong in the Champions League and will fancy its chances against Chelsea in the quarterfinals. Indeed, it’s mostly living up to the gold standard now, with more silverware almost inevitable before the season wraps up.

Therefore, this side can hardly be different from any other before it. That’s unless you consider one man’s influence. Carlo Ancelotti, the wily coach orchestrating this squad, has it believing that—no matter the scoreline or how well it plays—it will eventually finish the day top.

In many ways, this is nothing novel for Real. Except this appears to be the purest version, a team prepared to suffer before succeeding. One in which players like Rodrygo, after the Copa semifinal victory over rival Barcelona, openly said, as if this was the only reminder it needed, “We are Real Madrid.” The club’s name, its righteous place, is embedded in the psyche—throughout the entire setup.

Zinedine Zidane’s days at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu were somewhat similar. A steadying influence like Ancelotti, he also achieved La Liga and Champions League glory as boss. There are some differences, however. The calmness transcended from Ancelotti to his players, notable in the high-stakes games, is second to none. From a leadership standing, how the Italian has coolly operated is most striking.

Not only that, he’s done so during a period of relative flux, with ongoing stadium renovations—with estimated costs between €800 million ($875 million) and €900 million ($984 million)—expected to continue until later this year. Regarding players, he’s managed a squad on the precipice between looking away from the experienced Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, and Toni Kroos and welcoming the future: Eduardo Camavinga and Aurélien Tchouaméni in midfield with Endrick and possibly Jude Bellingham later on.

Ancelotti’s assembly is not the most glitzy Real either. Benzema’s class and Vinícius Júnior’s flair provide an edge. Then again, Kroos’ functionality and Federico Valverde’s tireless running are essential qualities, too. And while the Eden Hazard situation is not ideal, the squad performs consistently and is not distracted by anyone or anything.

Of course, Real can also sleepwalk into games, sometimes relying on late goals to collect points. That explains why Barcelona will be the league champion soon, barring a seismic turnaround in the season’s final stretch. Finding those winning streaks has been the Achilles heel this campaign.

Intriguingly, Ancelotti’s team often shines on the back foot. Therein lies the paradox. While most European giants would be rattled after going behind in tense games, Real—despite being the favorites—relishes the underdog status, too, and is most dangerous in those moments. Just ask Barcelona or the sides it defeated on the way to a European title last season. That comes from Ancelotti.

A recent video, which has effectively gone viral on social media, lifts the lid on Real’s backroom culture—the bedrock for any successful soccer project. Although Los Blancos’ relentlessness comes from the steely discipline and high standards set by Ancelotti, even he showed another side after the latest Clásico, congratulating his players before giving them a day off (Spanish)—igniting uncontainable joy in the changing rooms.

Akin to Zidane and the successful names before him, he knows how to manage his stars. How the serene mister’s charges step up—without needing so much as a frantic gesture from the sidelines—shows how much they respect him. Should he leave next year, Florentino Pérez will do well to find someone in the same mold. At this present moment, he’s put solid foundations in place.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles