Summary

  • Ancelotti took charge after Guardiola's departure in the summer.
  • Italian has won five and drawn one of his Bundesliga matches so far.
  • Bayern face Frankfurt away on Saturday.

Carlo Ancelotti took over the reins as FC Bayern München head coach in the summer and has since guided the team to the top of the Bundesliga standings after an unbeaten start to the 2016/17 campaign.

Not only has the 57-year-old won silverware at every major club he has managed, including three UEFA Champions League titles, he is renowned as one of the most amicable figures in the game.

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In this exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, the Italian discusses handling world-famous stars, coping with pressure, and his famously expressive eyebrow...

bundesliga.com: Mr Ancelotti, let's start with one of the biggest secrets in football...

Carlo Ancelotti: [Laughs] Now I'm intrigued. There are quite a few secrets…

bundesliga.com: You may be surprised to hear that it's about your eyebrow. It has been said that when you raise it, which you often do, it's an alarm signal. It has also been said that your agile brow is the result of a moped accident in your youth. What is the truth?

Ancelotti: [Laughs] Oh dear, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. There is no secret and none of those things are true. My eyebrow is just a normal eyebrow.

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bundesliga.com: So what explanation do you have?

Ancelotti: [Laughs] Unfortunately I don't have one at all. Sometimes I surprise myself. When I see an interview I gave on television I think 'that eyebrow is raised a long way', and then I realise that it's mine! It's also a mystery to me why it moves like that.

bundesliga.com: Despite that disappointment, let's try the next secret…

Ancelotti: [Laughs]

bundesliga.com: We bet you would have been an actor if you had not become a football coach...

Ancelotti: You're not having much luck with your secrets. You're wide of the mark again. That one's not true either. I like films and they're certainly a hobby of mine, as is cooking. But acting? You need talent for that, and my talents lie elsewhere.

Ancelotti has a reputation for getting on very well with his players and maintaining a harmonious dressing room atmosphere.

bundesliga.com: Yet you have appeared in two films (The World of Don Camillo and Star Trek Beyond), and before the 2003 UEFA Champions League final between AC Milan and Juventus you even showed a clip of Al Pacino's speech in Any Given Sunday in the changing room.

Ancelotti: I showed a clip with Al Pacino in which he gives a fantastic speech and motivates his players. I had the faces of his players replaced with those of my players. It was a very emotional moment for me. His speech was about teamwork – and that really is one of football's biggest secrets. We want to and have to work together.

bundesliga.com: And what about your film appearances?

Ancelotti: One of them was a long time ago and the other was just a cameo. It was more of a nice story on the periphery.

"Motivation is a huge factor in football. You have to speak to the players and give them clear instructions."
Ancelotti insists that his players adhere to strict rules under his charge, despite his relaxed appearance.

bundesliga.com: Can film and acting be compared to football? Or can footballers learn from actors and the film industry?

Ancelotti: Generally speaking I don't think you can compare them. Every match is like a new film. You can't say 'now we're going go out onto the pitch and play like they did in that film ten years ago'. Motivation is a huge factor in football. You have to speak to the players and give them clear instructions. It's not all about your technique on the ball; the psychological side of things is also important.

bundesliga.com: You are considered an expert at maintaining a positive atmosphere and are said to give your players lots of freedom. Many of your former charges love you for that and the Bayern stars are also full of praise for you because they have plenty of communication with you, and not only about football.

Ancelotti: Footballers are people first and foremost and I always see the positive things first in everybody. And that makes me a coach of people. We work together all day, so it's obviously better if you speak to each other and have a good atmosphere. Regarding freedom, I take a different view on that. There are clear rules for my teams and it's important that we're organised out on the pitch. What I demand from my players is that they implement that organisation.

"Here in Munich, winning the Champions League is an objective, not an obligation."

bundesliga.com: You come across as an extraordinarily calm person, despite the huge pressure that exists at a lot of big clubs. Where does your calmness come from?

Ancelotti: Maybe it's part of my character. I've never had very impulsive people around me. My father was very calm, as were my teachers and my coaches when I was a player myself. When you love something, you don't feel any pressure. I think a lot before games and get disappointed when things don't go as I'd hoped, but I don't view it as a catastrophe. Here in Munich, winning the Champions League is an objective, not an obligation.

bundesliga.com: Even at home do you never fly off the handle and kick the sofa?

Ancelotti: [Laughs] I do that sometimes, but only when I'm alone. Obviously you have to express your feelings, it's important to do that, but when you're dealing with football and a team it's better to sleep on it for a night. With over 1000 games under my belt, that works pretty well for me.

Bayern have taken 16 of a possible 18 Bundesliga points with Ancelotti at the helm so far, and face Eintracht Frankfurt away on Saturday.

bundesliga.com: Is there nothing that really annoys you?

Ancelotti: Of course there is. For example, when a player doesn't behave well on the pitch, is selfish and doesn't conduct or prepare themselves in a professional manner. In football, and especially at Bayern, you meet a lot of top-quality players. The task is then to utilise those qualities in the team.

bundesliga.com: You have worked in several different leagues now. What do you make of the Bundesliga?

Ancelotti: There are a lot of supporters in the stadiums. The people here enjoy football. The Bundesliga is a very interesting league in sporting terms, and there are very nice stadiums too.

Carlo Ancelotti was speaking to Oliver Trust

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