Since the turn of the century 11 coaches have come and gone at Real Madrid, but the 12th is looking to buck that trend – so much so he’d like to stay at the club for the rest of his life.
And such is the thickness of Carlo Ancelotti’s skin he relishes the scrutiny – good and bad – of a job that demands each coach must deliver instant success and global domination.
“I like everything in this atmosphere – even the criticism,” the Italian told CNN Español ahead of Real’s Champions League semifinal against Juventus in Turin on Tuesday.
It’s not just scrutiny from the boardroom that Ancelotti faces. There’s also the intense interest of the media, notably Spanish sport daily Marca.
“You have to compare: criticism is one small negative thing but on the other side, there are a lot of positives,” added Ancelotti.
“The people of Madrid, the city and the club – Real Madrid. So comparing the two, I would stay here all my life.”
Last season, Ancelotti succeeded where many of his predecessors had failed in leading the club to its long-awaited “La Decima” – a 10th European Cup – yet question marks still remain over whether the 55-year-old will see out his contract, which expires in 2016.
Despite going on a 22-match unbeaten run earlier in the season, league defeats by Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona left Ancelotti’s side trailing their Catalan rivals in the league and now facing a two-point deficit with three games to play.
“I have the feeling that my future is already decided,”said Ancelotti. “I have one more year left on my contract and I would like to stay here.”
A successful Champions League defense – a feat no club has managed in the competition’s current format – would give Ancelotti his fourth Champions League crown as a coach, having won it twice at AC Milan, where he lifted the old European Cup two seasons in a row as a player.
Whether or not Ancelotti stays on at Real, the Italian admitted that the challenge of coaching in MLS was an ambition once he has finished managing in Europe.
“Absolutely (something that appeals to me). At the end, once I leave my European experience, I would like to go.”
Tuesday’s Champions League semi will require Real to wrestle control of the game away from Juventus’ influential midfielder Andrea Pirlo.
In an recent interview, Pirlo revealed he thought of Ancelotti as a father, and the Real Madrid coach had only words of praise for the player he switched to his now familiar deep-lying midfield role when they worked together at AC Milan.
“He (Pirlo) is a really intelligent player,” said Ancelotti, who managed Juventus for a turbulent two years between 1999-2001.
“He doesn’t need to be physically at the top to play a good game. He is intelligent, he has a fantastic quality and so his longevity is because of this.”