Carlo Ancelotti is enjoying a renaissance.
The Italian coach thought his days amongst the elite of the elite were over. His two most recent jobs before he returned to the Santiago Bernabeu last summer were with Napoli and Everton.
Both are historic football clubs but neither compete at the sharp end of the European game. Many viewed his appointment by Real Madrid this past close-season to be a place-holder, a safe hand designed to usher Los Blancos into a new era.
But hes been a whole lot more than that.
Ancelotti has built a team that plays a simple, uncomplicated system with devastating skill. Hes fostered an atmosphere thats gotten the best out of a talented group and enjoyed success both at home and in Europe.
Ancelottis Madrid won La Liga with four games to spare and will face Liverpool in the final of the Champions League on May 28th.
His success has led many to marvel at his longevity. The 62-year-old has, after all, been coaching since the mid-1990s. And Ancelotti, speaking to SiriusXM FCs The Football Show, admitted that times have indeed changed since his days with Reggiana.
I think that the methodology of training in football has changed a lot in the last 20 years, he said. So Ive had to be ready to change my style and my idea of football, because the rules have changed. Its a completely different sport. But what hasnt changed is my relationship with the players. Thats the same.
The important thing is the relationships you have with other people. Im with my players every day actually, its not right to call them my players. Im with my friends every day. Because theres the player and then theres the person.
Players are people playing football. When you ask most of them who they are theyll say that theyre a player. But no, theyre men who play football. And sometimes I tell them that I put the player on the bench, not the man. If youre a serious professional who respects the people they work with youll always come out top.