As the reigning Champions of Europe, Real Madrid can boast about being on top of the football planet, but surprisingly for such a big club, this has come after a long drought of comparable success. Has Madrid carefully constructed it’s recent success or stumbled upon it? What exactly has gone right in the Best Club of the 20th Century during recent times and what can they do to continue on the road of being named the Best Club of the 21st Century?
Real Madrid Club De Futbol
Real Madrid must never forget that history in this sport is written with a Football. Having a clear and legible winning identity/philosophy about how your club runs it’s Football operations comes before anything else, something that to this day cannot be deemed as completely understood by Florentino Perez.
So far during Carlo Ancelotti’s reign as Real Madrid manager we have seen many improvements on our football identity that have now developed into characteristics of this team, characteristics that should be studied and remembered by the club and it’s fans in order to make it part of the Real Madrid seal.
What have these improvements been?
1. Great Atmosphere.
– Carlo Ancelotti has developed a healthy and admirable atmosphere in the locker room with his players, in the conference room with the media, and with the President of the club and it’s most important figures.
In his book, Mi Arbol de Navidad, Carlo Ancelotti dedicates the second chapter to describe how his role as a coach has changed throughout the times and places he has experienced. Ancelotti does a good job of giving a general but detailed overview of his tasks and responsibilities as the coach of a football club and how this changes depending on circumstances.
“La sintonía entre un entrenador y las personas que representan a la sociedad a cualquier nivel se basa en la claridad inicial y en la coherencia del club con los objetivos fijados de antemano. Unos objetivos que no conciernen solo a los resultados en términos de victorias a alcanzar, sino también a los aspectos inherentes a la filosofía de la sociedad.”
Ancelotti, Carlo (2013-11-19). Mi árbol de navidad (Deportes) (Spanish Edition) (Kindle Locations 446-448). LA ESFERA DE LOS LIBROS, S.L.. Kindle Edition.
Ancelotti is so well rounded as a person, that he is aware and astute as to what kind of things he must communicate with his players in order to make a great team, and with his club and it’s people in order to create and maintain a good society. Some in the media have termed him as The Psychologist because of his level of understanding, detail, and thus success.
Ancelotti has proven throughout his career to be a great manager, and a great organizer, and this type of organization is what Madrid cannot afford to lose as a club, especially considering the fact that times change. You need something to hold on to.
Fc Barcelona for example, seems keen to always maintain their playing philosophy and this has it’s effect on some of it’s football aspects such as the youth academy and types of transfer purchases, as well as their image. Their actual success on various different aspects of their organization, and the interpretation of their beliefs has not been perfect and can be analyzed in depth separately, but they do have winning beliefs and ideas that can be appreciated and studied.
Again, Real Madrid now have a classy coach who is informative with his audience as well as a good role model, and he is a good handler of people, Madrid must make this part of it’s tradition one way or the other.
2. Brilliance on the pitch.
In his book, Mi Arbol de Navidad, Carlo makes note of how he always tries to put all of his creative talent on the pitch by making his ideas work through good organization.
“De esta forma llegamos a mi definición de sistema de juego: a través de las tareas asignadas, sobre todo en ámbito defensivo, el sistema de juego define el módulo de juego (vivo y dinámico) que cualquier entrenador, de acuerdo con su interpretación y respetando los conceptos básicos, puede crear a medida de los jugadores que tiene a su disposición.”
Ancelotti, Carlo (2013-11-19). Mi árbol de navidad (Deportes) (Spanish Edition) (Kindle Locations 486-487). LA ESFERA DE LOS LIBROS, S.L.. Kindle Edition.
Ancelotti, Carlo (2013-11-19). Mi árbol de navidad (Deportes) (Spanish Edition) (Kindle Locations 484-486). LA ESFERA DE LOS LIBROS, S.L.. Kindle Edition.
Carlo Ancelotti can thus be seen as a bit of a pioneer (although it’s a bit unfortunate in my opinion because it implies that the general consensus is behind, and when it comes to what i’m about to explain, i think it shouldn’t in this day and age) because his way of understanding football (a student and player during Sachhi’s Milan in the early 90’s) has naturally geared him into making his players more complete by helping them become smarter and harder working on the pitch.
If your players are smart footballers who know how the game operates, and are also hard workers with good work ethic, the doors of success will open.
“En esta sección nos encontramos a menudo, en una proporción que depende de cada realidad, con unos top player diferentes que desempeñan poco menos que las mismas funciones, de forma que nos vemos obligados a hacer exclusiones y limitar el uso del mejor potencial disponible. La capacidad del entrenador en la elección y modulación del sistema de juego permitirá el empleo simultáneo de la mayor parte de los talentos-campeones presentes en la sección. Profundizaré sobre ello cuando cuente mi experiencia en el Milan, el nacimiento del sistema del Árbol de Navidad y la manera en que un gran talento, indefinido hasta ese momento, encontró su posición definitiva en el campo y se convirtió en uno de los mejores centrocampistas del mundo: Andrea Pirlo.”
Ancelotti, Carlo (2013-11-19). Mi árbol de navidad (Deportes) (Spanish Edition) (Kindle Locations 503-508). LA ESFERA DE LOS LIBROS, S.L.. Kindle Edition.
Players like Pirlo, Seedorf, Di Maria, Modric, Kroos, James, Isco, who can generally be described as having been attacking midfielders of some sort before meeting Ancelotti, were developed by the man himself to become players who understand how increased work ethic and team play can lead to creating teams who are complete and versatile by virtue of being composed by smart, hard working, technically talented footballers playing in organized systems made to heighten the capabilities of the unit.
This is the essence of what can be conceived by some as total football. Through organization, make everyone play for the team and as a team, and move the players at the front like Kaka or Ronaldo or Benzema, around so that they provide the perfect balance.
“Cuando los jugadores disponibles son unos campeones cuyas características se superponen en lugar de complementarse, el equilibrio se puede y se debe perseguir mediante la asignación de tareas tácticas individuales.”
Ancelotti, Carlo (2013-11-19). Mi árbol de navidad (Deportes) (Spanish Edition) (Kindle Locations 528-530). LA ESFERA DE LOS LIBROS, S.L.. Kindle Edition.
“When the players available are champions who’s characteristics superimpose themselves to each other rather than compliment, the equilibrium can and must be pursued by assigning individual tactical duties.”
Cristiano Ronaldo for example no longer plays at the right wing in the 4231 as he used to during the Mourinho era. He now plays at the top, pressing and marking the opposition Centre-Backs and midfielders whilst moving around the top of the pitch to combine with his team mates, and the team is organized so that the “main” running and tracking back is functionally done by the 4 midfield players behind him. There are no systematic holes due to super imposing of player attributes in attack and defense, compared to how Mourinho’s Madrid looked. Carlo Ancelotti and his teams adapt to the situations they encounter. (I will go more in-depth into these tactics in future specified posts)
Past coaches such as Sacchi, Johan Cruyff, and Guardiola also have similar ideas about football.
Watch Cruyff explain his philosophy. (Especially @ 1:15 onwards)
What is Defending?
The correct team organization, pressing, marking, can allow for a team filled with names like James,Isco,Modric,Kroos,Ronaldo, Benzema/ Busquets,Xavi,Iniesta,Villa,Messi,Pedro, work without the myth of needing destroyers in the midfield.
When this forward thinking is implemented, succeeds, and is then appreciated and learned from, that is what is termed as evolution, and it is why Sachhi himself has recently said that the Current Real Madrid could be as much of a landmark as 1970’s Ajax, 1990’s Milan, and late 2000’s Barcelona.
Carlo Ancelotti has made a team still termed as “The Galacticos” by some, work and win by assigning specific tasks to his players and making a team shape that reaches the Equilibrium between talent and efficiency. Ancelotti has become a master of Survival of the Fittest and evolution.
This team is the result of intelligent understanding of the game and hard work, and the press in Spain for example have taken notice with articles like this one…
If you have a team composed by players like Modric, Isco, and James Rodriguez who all have good height, great technique, great agility, and then impose understanding and work ethic, then you can accomplish anything. This is something that the world is still discovering, something that Madrid is winning titles and breaking records with.
Wrap Up/Who’s “fault” is it really?
Carlo Ancelotti has demonstrated great understanding and management, all which has led to a happy and more enlightened dressing room, an informative and respected figurehead with the media, fans, and club, and he has also brought winning football with what are arguably revolutionizing tactics to today’s world.
Florentino Perez brought Carlo Ancelotti, but if he as the President had indeed anticipated this kind of a revolution, then he would have done something to bring it upon us before hand, and nothing shows that he as a president was aware of such ideas. Did Madrid stumble upon la Decima because of what Carlo created with his handling of Los Blancos?
I think that’s what’s closer to the truth.
Carlo has painted a white canvas with the colors of victory, all the while leaving the white intact.
Should the world’s biggest club still be a canvas to be manipulated by any coach, restricted by a subpar President in terms of football? NO.
I’ll make a post dedicated to Florentino Perez but here is a sample of mistakes by Perez since his second term. Some of the ones that leave him most in evidence.
1. Buying Kaka for 65 million Euros (27 and broken, with 65 euros you could buy more and better)
2. Bringing in Jose Mourinho (bad image, football proved inferior, would not have happened if our club had the tradition/infrastructure that Carlo has brought)
3. Bringing in Gareth Bale (i will definitely go more into detail of this in future posts but to put it simply, i think he lacks the technique, agility, positional/associative intelligence, and ability of a Real Madrid player, and i think our 7,9,20,10,8,19,and 23 are all better footballers than him. You do not pay upwards of 80 million euros for a player like Bale, again, a case like Kaka where you buy the illogical hype, the t-shirt.)
4. He makes Illarramendi the most expensive Spanish purchase in Real Madrid history. An absolute joke, which would not have happened had there been real planning. I don’t feel Carlo ok’ed these movements but were rather imposed on him such as Torres when he was in Chelsea. Florentino broke the bank for both Bale and Illarramendi but showed no intelligence concerning substance in doing so.
5. James Rodriguez. Supreme footballer but for 80 million, you can buy more and build a supreme team.
Chelsea bought Eden Hazard and Oscar for 32 and 20 million respectively, De Bruyne for 7, we bought Ozil for 15 and Isco for around 30(all of these examples of good purchases), you can’t go and spend almost 200 million on Bale, Illarramendi, and James….
Carlo Ancelotti has shown how to do everything right. Rather than a stadium renovation, it will be the solidification of winning principles into our DNA, which would prove to be Perez’ swan song.
1. Buy the best of players efficiently.
2. Motivate them to play together with the best of tactics. (and use the players and game of now to remind the players and fans how it’s done)
3. Provide a role model image.
And Madrid will keep on winning.