Monday, June 27, 2022

Clasico, Classique, Klassiker: Ancelotti brings big-game guile to Real Madrid v Barcelona

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Mar 2022

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Carlo Ancelotti was born a week after Real Madrid won their fourth European Cup, in June 1959. As life began for young Carlo in Reggiolo, a growing rivalry was erupting in Spain.

Celebrations of Madrid’s win over Reims in Stuttgart were cut short, and it was Barcelona who interrupted the party.

Home and away wins against Madrid in the Copa del Generalisimo semi-finals meant Barcelona reached the showpiece, where a 4-1 win against Granada completed a domestic double. To rub it in, that June 21 final was played at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

Barcelona ruled Spain, though Madrid ruled Europe, and the greatest rivalry in club football was well ablaze.

Ancelotti in 2014 delivered La Decima – Madrid’s 10th European Cup – but Atletico Madrid and Barcelona denied him domestic league glory during an initial two-year reign in Spain.

Now Ancelotti’s Madrid are on course for LaLiga silverware in his second spell, and on Sunday they face Barcelona in El Clasico at the Bernabeu.

Here, Stats Perform looks closely at the man bidding to become the first coach to complete the set of titles from Serie A, Ligue 1, Premier League, Bundesliga and LaLiga.

JUVENTUS

It was with Juve that Ancelotti had his first taste of super-club coaching, from February 1999 to June 2001.

The Derby d’Italia – Juve versus Inter – is the Bianconeri’s biggest domestic match, and Ancelotti had the upper hand in these games. A league double over Inter was secured in Ancelotti’s first full season, and he finished unbeaten in five such games (W3 D2).

Ancelotti’s final game against Inter resulted in a 3-1 victory for Juventus in April 2001 – the first time Juve had scored three times against Inter since April 1992. He would be sacked when Juve were pipped to the Scudetto by Roma, but Ancelotti left great big-match memories.

MILAN

Only Helenio Herrera (20 matches with Inter in the 1960s) has contested more Milan derbies as a coach than Ancelotti (19). However, Ancelotti holds the record for the most victories (10).

San Siro was Ancelotti’s November 2001 stop-off after Juventus. Although he lost to Inter first time out, a 1-0 loss in March 2002, Milan soon picked up the pace. They won five of the next six Serie A tussles between the sides, drawing the other, as well as securing Champions League quarter-final and semi-final successes.

The run of dominance ended in the 2005-06 season as Inter won 3-2 on December 11, and the Nerazzurri became ascendant in the rivalry.

CHELSEA

Chelsea moved for Ancelotti and got their man. In 2009-10, his first season, Ancelotti won the Premier League and FA Cup and enjoyed league doubles over Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United, touchstones of the domestic game.

Losses to Liverpool, Arsenal and United in the following season, and a Champions League quarter-final exit to United, meant time was up for Ancelotti. But three wins in four London derbies against Arsenal meant Ancelotti went with his head high.

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

Ancelotti was appointed by PSG in late December 2011, weeks after a 3-0 defeat at Marseille in Le Classique and in the wake of Nasser Al-Khelaifi arriving as chairman.

With a big-name coach to oversee the regime change, Ancelotti won his first Classique in April, a 2-1 victory, but defeats to Nancy and Lille proved costly as Montpellier won the league.

Ancelotti’s PSG scored at least twice in each of his five meetings with Marseille. In Ligue 1, prior to Ancelotti’s arrival, PSG had only managed to score multiple times in two of their 14 previous clashes.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice in a 2-2 draw at Marseille early in a Ligue 1 title-winning 2012-13 season, and put the finishing touch to a 2-0 home win in February. Ancelotti asked to leave at the end of the season, and six weeks later he became Real Madrid boss.

REAL MADRID

A Galactico of a coach, Ancelotti’s move to Madrid made sense, yet Atletico landed the LaLiga title in his first season, and Barcelona scored a Clasico double in that campaign.

But a victory fit for a king came in the 2014 Copa del Rey final when Gareth Bale’s individual goal secured a 2-1 triumph over Barcelona, and a 4-1 victory after extra time against Atletico in the Champions League final papered over most cracks.

Atletico beat Madrid home and away in the following season, while Ancelotti and Barca’s Luis Enrique had one win each in the Clasico showdowns.

Ancelotti was sacked in May 2015 but returned last June and enjoyed a 2-1 league win at Camp Nou in October, followed by a 3-2 Supercopa semi-final success.

He has lost three of his five meetings with Barcelona in LaLiga (W2), his joint-worst record of defeats against the same opponent in the competition, along with games against Atletico (W1 D1 L3).

However, Ancelotti has won four of his last five Clasicos overall. If he oversees a victory this weekend, Real’s Clasico winning run will reach six games – their best such streak since a run of seven in the 1960s.

BAYERN MUNICH

A 15-month tenure began in July 2016 and results in the Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund were a mixed bag. Bayern lost twice to Dortmund in the 2016-17 season, a 1-0 Bundesliga defeat in November, when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got the only goal, and a DFB-Pokal semi-final setback that ended domestic cup hopes.

They still enjoyed a Supercup win at the outset of that campaign and a 4-1 league success late in the season, on the way to the title, while another Supercup at Dortmund’s expense came in the following season, Bayern prevailing on penalties.

EVERTON

Ancelotti had 18 months at Everton, before resigning to return to Madrid last June.

The Italian delighted Toffees fans when a 2-0 win behind closed doors on February 20, 2021 gave Everton a first win over Liverpool at Anfield since 1999. Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson scored in Everton’s biggest league victory at Anfield since February 1986. Ancelotti faced Liverpool three times in the league, going unbeaten in those games.

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