Following their recent successes in both La Liga and the Champions League, Carlo Ancelotti has been at pains to point out the large role that team spirit has played in their victories. Perhaps it’s something that is underplayed in the modern game.
On Friday, the 30th anniversary of Barcelona‘s first Champions League victory was marked, a title achieved under their guiding voice Johan Cruyff.
The late, great Dutchman was also keen to ensure his group at the time were tightly-bonded, as Sport have detailed. Various players have spoken about the small details that Cruyff took in order to create those bonds.
Often, Cruyff and his wife Danny Coster would invite players and their partners for dinner, with Johan acting the perfect host. That built a normal relationship off the pitch, even if during training he wasn’t afraid to be hard on his players.
In addition, whenever a player became a father, Danny and Johan would gift them a present the following day. Although these acts are small pieces of courtesy, given the quantity of that squad who remained friends after it, clearly it didn’t hurt.