Carlo Ancelotti is achieving a remarkable feat – managing Real Madrid and being one of the most well-liked managers across football.
The Italian is famed for his coolness, his sense of humour and most importantly, his personable attitude towards players. Over his lengthy managerial career, stretching towards three decades now, Ancelotti has had an impact on many players. Few, it seems, don’t have fond things to say about him.
Mexico and Napoli winger Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano was recently telling his story on the Player’s Tribune, when he detailed an anecdote about Ancelotti that explained exactly why he is so well-regarded.
After the World Cup (and the earthquake), another amazing thing happened. One day, I got this call from a number in Italy.
“Hola, Chucky? This is Carlo Ancelotti speaking.”
When I heard the name, man, it blew my socks off. You see, Ancelotti had been working as a pundit for Televisa in Mexico during the World Cup and had seen my goal. He wanted me to come join him at Napoli.
During the 2018–19 season, I would get calls from him every week. When I got injured, he would ask after me, “How is your knee doing? How is the recovery going?”
That’s just the way he is. When he asked me to come to Napoli, how could I say no? You already know Ancelotti. He’s a great coach, but he’s an even better person.
My first night in Italy he took me and my family to dinner with his whole family. And I mean his whole family — he even brought his grandkids. That meant everything to me, because I think sometimes people don’t realize how tough it is to change countries as a footballer. Especially for Latin Americans, when the culture in Europe is so different and you are so far from family. But Ancelotti just had a way of making you feel at home. That humanity stayed with me.
Once again it goes to show just why Ancelotti is so well-loved by his players.
In one of the noisiest clubs in the world, Ancelotti has ran a tight ship returning two summers ago. Another example this season was Marco Asensio, who was visibly unhappy with his failed move and lack of minutes in September. Ancelotti managed to turn his mindset around has since had a committed and performing player at his disposal.