With growing speculation that Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti could be heading to Manchester City in the summer to replace Manuel Pellegrini, here’s an argument against hiring the Italian tactician.
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For all his qualities and proven track record at winning the big trophies all around Europe, there remain lingering doubts about Ancelotti as a real top-level manager in the same bracket as the likes of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.
Fans of the 55-year-old will point to the three Champions League titles he has won, and while City would dearly love to improve in Europe’s top club competition, there is no guarantee of the kind of sustainability that the club also crave – a drop from first to fourth in the space of a year under Pellegrini already shows the club’s vulnerability as they still find their feet as a true giant of the game: reaching the top is hard, staying there is even harder.
Quite simply, Ancelotti is not enough of an upgrade on City’s current boss. The two are very similar in that they like attack-minded football but can be easily criticised for lacking that grit and kn0w-how to see out difficult games or last the course of a season. In eight years with AC Milan, Ancelotti won just one Serie A title in between his two European cups – one of which was won on penalties in a drab final against Juventus. And who can forget that same Milan side capitulating from 3-0 up against Liverpool in Istanbul in 2005? Since then, Ancelotti has won another league title with Chelsea (in his first season in England, which will no doubt stack the odds in his favour) and another with Paris Saint-Germain. Again, critics will look at the way his Blues side dropped significantly after their title win, ending trophyless the following season, and also at the lack of genuine competition his PSG side will have faced in Ligue 1.
As of yet there has been no La Liga title since moving to Real Madrid, and that doesn’t look like changing. Already this season, Real have started superbly, building up a great lead, and lost it to Barcelona. Again there are parallells with Pellegrini’s time at the Bernabeu – his team are great to watch and full of entertainers, but they aren’t winners in the way that Mourinho’s Chelsea side or Guardiola’s Bayern are.
Supposedly, Guardiola is the long-term target for City and perhaps one worth waiting for. Although Ancelotti would hardly be a step back, it’s a step sideways in this crucial period of City’s development.