- Ancelotti officially takes charge of FC Bayern in July.
- Replaces Guardiola on three-year deal.
- Plans to put his own mark on the sign.
When Carlo Ancelotti takes up the reins as FC Bayern München head coach in July, he will have one small advantage over his predecessor in the same position, three years earlier. While Pep Guardiola took charge of a side looking to emulate an historic treble success under Jupp Heynckes, the bar for Ancelotti is not set quite so high, Bayern 'only' having won a domestic league and cup double in Guardiola's final year at the helm.
Three Bundesliga titles and two DFB Cups in three seasons under the Catalan master tactician is a balance that speaks for itself. The glaring omission from that collection is, of course, a repeat triumph in the UEFA Champions League; and in Ancelotti, the German record champs have hooked a man with a very special relationship to Europe's top club competition. In its earlier incarnation, as the European Cup, he won it twice as a midfielder with AC Milan in 1989 and '90. As a coach, the 26-time Italy international guided the Rossoneri to victory in 2003 and again in '07. Most recently, he oversaw Real Madrid CF's tenth title success in 2014, making him a five-time winner – to date.
He freely acknowledges that "It's a hugely prestigious trophy, every big club wants to win it. Playing for Milan, it was always the ultimate prize." Bayern have that same level of ambition and few clubs in Europe are currently better-placed to realise it. Guardiola has left his successor with a team more than capable of once again dominating on the domestic stage and mixing it with the very best in the wider arena. "I won't be looking to change very much," Ancelotti accordingly explained, adding that he has “a very good, long-standing relationship" with Guardiola and hopes to swap notes with him again before the start of the coming season.
At first glance, the two men seem to present quite a contrast in styles. Ancelotti has a reputation as the most imperturbable of the game's A-list coaches, ever sensitive to the needs of his players. For Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, "Carlo's also a tactical whizz, if not quite as obsessed as Pep. And, perhaps partly on account of his age, he's a bit more nuanced in his dealings with the players." For that reason as well, Ancelotti – 57 on 10th June – is "the perfect fit for Bayern München at this juncture."
In his recently released book 'Quiet Leadership', the most renowned native of the small town of Reggiolo in Italy's northern Emilia-Romagna region offers an insight into the calm, empathetic management style that has earned him and his employers such high returns down the years. He anticipates more of the same in his new job, laying it out in straightforward terms: "Bayern have had a great season but of course you're always looking to do even better next time around. It's going to take a lot of work, but that's what I have to strive for." Which is just the message they want to hear in Munich.