Ancelotti hoping to replicate Simeone's longevity

By Sports Desk December 11, 2021

Carlo Ancelotti sees no need to assess the impact Diego Simeone has had at Atletico Madrid and can only hope to replicate the Argentine's longevity.

Ancelotti returned to Madrid for his second spell as coach in June, after leaving Everton.

He has overseen something of a resurgence after a disappointing campaign last season, with Los Blancos sitting pretty at the top of LaLiga with 39 points from their 16 games.

Reigning champions Atleti visit Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday for the first Madrid derby of the season. Simeone's men sit 10 points behind Ancelotti's side in fourth place, albeit with a game in hand.

Ancelotti and Simeone have met 15 times previously across all competitions. The Italian has managed five wins to Simeone's four, while six of the encounters were drawn.

However, none of Ancelotti's victories have come in LaLiga, with Simeone's Atleti winning three times out of four – the other game resulting in a draw.

 

Indeed, Simeone is the only coach that Ancelotti has faced on four or more occasions in LaLiga without winning, though he did enjoy a famous win over Atleti in the 2014 Champions League final, as Madrid clinched "La Decima".

"I am not the one who has to say what Simeone has done at Atletico," Ancelotti told a news conference on Saturday.

"He has put Atleti among the best clubs in Europe. What has happened with Simeone is what all the coaches want, to stay in a club for a long time and leave their mark on the club.

"It is the dream of any coach. Hopefully it can happen to me at Madrid."

If Ancelotti really does wish to stay for a sustained spell at Madrid, then he is off to a strong start – Los Blancos have lost just one league game this term and have finished top of their Champions League group – although the 62-year-old has not spent longer than two years at any club since leaving Milan in 2009.

Ancelotti has managed in most of Europe's biggest rival matches, from the Merseyside and Milan derbies to Der Klassiker and El Clasico, but he insists Madrid must keep a lid on their emotions on Sunday in order to claim the points.

"It is three points. Then the emotional aspect, which is playing a derby against a direct rival," he added.

"It is clear that this is going to put more pressure on both teams. It is a game that all the fans feel in a particular way, but in the table there are three points [on offer]."

Asked if a victory would put Madrid well in control of the title race, Ancelotti replied: "We will have three more points over an opponent who will fight to the end to win this competition. 

"I don't want to put more pressure on this game than it already is.

"We have shown that we have done better than the other teams to date. But the league does not end today, we have to play for six more months and I don't know what can happen. So far we have done better, but we are concerned about the future, not the past."

Ancelotti did not win LaLiga during his first stint at Madrid, and conceded he has unfinished business in that regard.

"I would value it like the other titles we have won," he said.

"The Champions League is the most important competition in Europe and the world. LaLiga is also an important title and it is true that not having won it here gives me more motivation."

Related items

  • Courtois celebrates Champions League final heroics with brick wall tattoo Courtois celebrates Champions League final heroics with brick wall tattoo

    Thibaut Courtois has commemorated his man-of-the-match performance in the Champions League final after unveiling a tattoo of a brick wall on his arm.

    The Belgium international produced an inspired display between the sticks as Real Madrid edged out Liverpool 1-0 at Stade de France to claim their 14th continental crown.

    Courtois' nine saves during the match made up the highest tally in a single Champions League final since at least 2003-04, surpassing Liverpool's Allison (in 2019) and Manchester United's Edwin Van der Sar (in 2011), both with eight.

    He also set a new benchmark with the number of saves he made during Madrid's run (59)

    The Reds finished the final having attempted 24 shots, the most on record from a team who failed to score in European football's showpiece match.

    It stands to reason then that Courtois should want something to remember the final by, and he has settled on a new tattoo, revealed to his 10.5 million Instagram followers.

    The design has Courtois' initials and shirt number set against a brick wall next to the Champions League trophy.

  • Slumping D-backs turn to Dallas Keuchel for start against Tigers Slumping D-backs turn to Dallas Keuchel for start against Tigers

    The sputtering Arizona Diamondbacks are in need of a spark and hope a former Cy Young Award winner can ignite it.

    Hoping to shake off a horrendous start to the season, Dallas Keuchel will make his Diamondbacks debut and try to help Arizona end a five-game losing streak in Sunday's series finale with the Detroit Tigers.

    The 34-year-old left-hander signed a minor league contract with the Diamondbacks on June 6 following a desperate start to the season by the Chicago White Sox leading to his release.

    The move to Arizona reunited him with pitching coach Brent Strom, who worked with Keuchel in 2015 when he won the AL Cy Young Award with the Houston Astros while going 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA.

    The Diamondbacks are hopeful Keuchel can replicate the success he had with the Astros as opposed to the way he was knocked around with the White Sox over this season's first two months.

    In eight starts for Chicago this season, Keuchel went 2-5 with a 7.88 ERA, permitting 49 hits and 20 walks in just 32 innings.

    Among the 208 players with at least 30 innings pitched this season, Keuchel's 2.16 WHIP is the worst in the majors.

    Prior to being called up by the Diamondbacks, he went 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts in the Arizona Complex League.

  • 'I've never seen real leadership from him' – Legrottaglie questions whether Juventus should fight for De Ligt 'I've never seen real leadership from him' – Legrottaglie questions whether Juventus should fight for De Ligt

    Matthijs de Ligt has never shown "real leadership" with Juventus and the club might do well to offload him, according to former Bianconeri defender Nicola Legrottaglie.

    The Netherlands centre-back is under contract at the Allianz Stadium until June 2024, but could soon be on the move after three years in Italy.

    Chelsea have been linked with a move for the 22-year-old, who has been a regular in the heart of the Juventus defence since arriving from Ajax for €85.5million in July 2019.

    The centre-half has racked up 117 appearances across all competitions, scoring eight goals, and winning the Serie A title during his first season.

    In 87 Serie A games, he has committed just one error leading to a goal, yet Legrottaglie has not been wholly convinced by De Ligt.

    With the Chelsea rumour now circling, Legrottaglie said: "If the boy was really convinced he wanted to leave, I don't know how much it would be better for Juventus to keep him at home against his will."

    Legrottaglie, who also played for Italy, believes there are plenty of admirable elements about De Ligt's game.

    "In terms of characteristics, I have always liked the player," Legrottaglie told Tuttojuve.com. "I believe, however, that he has never really immersed himself into the environment.

    "I have never seen real leadership from him; from the outside, he has been perceived as a bit separate from the group. Let's say he didn't do everything to make himself loved."

    De Ligt remarked that Torino centre-back Gleison Bremer and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly might have the attributes to bolster the Juventus defence, after back-to-back fourth-placed finishes in Serie A.

    He also pointed to the likely high cost of such players, and said: "It is not certain that with a great champion you necessarily do better, especially in defence. What counts is the work of the department, which often makes up for the quality of the individual."

    Speaking in early June to Dutch outlet NOS, De Ligt said talks about his Juventus future had been taking place, adding: "When the time comes, I will decide whether I will extend or whether I want to look further.

    "I always look at what is best for myself in terms of the sporting project. Fourth place twice in a row is not good enough; we will have to make steps in that direction."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.