Sacchi: Madrid like my great Milan

Arrigo Sacchi still has a place in his heart for Real Madrid and commended compatriot Carlo Ancelotti for his success at Santiago Bernabeu.

The former Madrid director of football has spoken to AS and said the quality of football played by Los Blancos under the direction of Ancelotti is very high, but the Coach’s greatest achievement is getting the players pulling the same way.

“Madrid are still in my heart. I am a lover of beautiful football and a team which owns the ball, owns the game,” the former Milan boss said.

“And Madrid are now the masters. I love it. Carlo has done a fantastic job. It’s not easy. When you have talented players, each one tends to think the others should do the running.

“Envy, jealousy…You have to control that. And when I look at Madrid I see a team spirit and a very good sense of the game. In some ways it reminds me of our great Milan.

“This team is more technical and doesn’t have the ability to press after losing the ball, but they know how to have the ball and use the ball. They play at fantastic speed. Football should be played with harmony and speed.

“There’s excitement for the fans and difficulty for the opponent.”

Sacchi expanded on Ancelotti’s ability to get the players on side, explaining what goes into getting a group to buy into the team’s ideas.

“You just have to convince the player with your psychology, or because you’re friendly, and in training, understanding the collective will improve the individual,” Sacchi added.

“In Milan, when everyone was exhausted from the work, there came a time when Baresi and Tassotti said: ‘The more we work, the more success we have.’ It’s simple.

“An Italian poet said: ‘Without obsession, there is no art.’ With a little, you get a little. In his book Carlo said: ‘Arrigo was so determined and convinced that we said: we follow you.’ It was almost a matter of fanaticism.

“Ancelotti played in the position now occupied by Kroos in Madrid, or that Xabi Alonso was playing. Once, Maradona said: ‘Now with you, Ancelotti runs fast.’ I replied: ‘He doesn’t run fast, he thinks fast.’”

Asked if Ancelotti’s Madrid could inspire the next idea to sweep through football, Sacchi said that it is certainly possible, although he was speaking more tongue-in-cheek.

“Yes. Look, the most famous Coaches in the world were always very important to building their team. Carlo is the only one who has to work with what he is given,” Sacchi went on.

“That’s how it was at Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain…He is always happy with what he is given. In Milan he once asked for a defender and they bought Rivaldo!

“He called: ‘Arrigo, what should I do?’ I said: ‘Put Rivaldo in defence!’”

Tags Arrigo Sacchi Carlo Ancelotti Milan
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