Playing spectacular football and filling the trophy cabinet at the same time is the holy grail for soccer coaches and Carlo Ancelotti promised both as he took up the reins at Spanish giants Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Speaking in an entertaining mixture of Spanish, French and his native Italian, Ancelotti told reporters at the Bernabeu stadium his goal was to help Real win a 10th European title and replace arch-rivals Barcelona as the dominant club in Spain.
Flanked by Emilio Butragueno, a club director with whom he locked horns when they were players in the 1980s, he confirmed former France and Real midfielder Zinedine Zidane would be one of his assistants on the bench along with Englishman Paul Clement.
“I love football and that’s why Real Madrid is a dream for me and today that dream is coming true,” Ancelotti told the packed press room in the bowels of the giant arena.
“I don’t think Real Madrid will be the end of my career but my hope is that I will be here a long time,” added the 54-year-old, twice a Champions League winner with AC Milan as both player and coach.
Real president Florentino Perez lured Ancelotti from French champions Paris St Germain following last month’s departure of Jose Mourinho, three years before the end of his contract, after a season without major silverware.
Labelled “the pacifier” in Spanish media, the laid-back Italian is an entirely different character from the combative Portuguese, who clashed with key players, divided fans and had a testy relationship with journalists.
“I have a different character (to Mourinho) but I have total respect for him,” Ancelotti said.
“I don’t think it’s possible to compare Mourinho and me. I am focusing on my work and the president will decide if it has been good or bad.”