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Carlo Ancelotti and the case for the 2022 UEFA Best Coach award



Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Managing a professional football team is not a job for the faint-hearted. While the career is lucrative and brings with it a lot of fame, it does have its own set of frailties.

Managers are the first targets of both the media and the management in the face of defeat. Yet, they are the last ones to be praised when the team performs well.

From maintaining the dressing room atmosphere behind the scenes to running the show on the sidelines with critical decisions, a manager’s job has no dearth of stress. Needless to say, it is difficult to find a candidate who can seamlessly hold the fort on all fronts.

To recognise the importance of coaches in the modern game, UEFA awards an annual prize to the best men’s team coach. The Federation have released a list of three candidates to win the coveted award for the 2021-22 season- Jurgen Klopp, Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola.

Madrid Universal brings to you a brief analysis of each candidate’s exploits last season making a case for Carlo Ancelotti.

1. Pep Guardiola

Denied by Carlo. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

Through his spells in Spain, Germany and now England, Pep Guardiola has revolutionised the way football is seen globally. All of his teams have two commonalities: champaigne football and silverware.

Since his arrival at Etihad, the disciple of Johan Cruyff has turned Manchester City into a winning machine. He has won the Premier League four times in the last five years in addition to several domestic cups.

At the beginning of the 2021-22 season, it seemed like the men in Blue were going to run away with the league title. However, a late resurgence from Liverpool combined with a couple of slip-ups from the leaders saw the race boil down to the final matchday.

On the final matchday, Guardiola’s men notched up an unbelievable comeback from 2-0 down in a must-win situation to win the tie and seal the Premier League title.

The results on other fronts, however, were not as impressive. The Manchester-based club were eliminated in the fourth round of the EFL Cup and lost to Liverpool in the semifinal of the FA Cup. Moreover, they came up short against Liverpool in the final of the FA Community Shield too.

The biggest disappointment came in the UEFA Champions League. Manchester City won the first leg at home with a scoreline of 4-3 and extended their lead to two goals early in the second leg.

Yet, the men in blue conceded two goals after the conclusion of regulation time and lost the tie to a Karim Benzema penalty in the 95th minute.

2. Jurgen Klopp

Also denied by Carlo. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The German manager has been pivotal in Liverpool’s rebuild in recent years and made the Merseyside team into one of the most formidable sides in world football.

However, the 2021-22 season will not go down as one of Klopp’s memorable seasons. He was just two wins away from securing a historic quadruple haul for his side but ultimately fell short in the competitions that matter the most.

The UEFA Champions League final saw Liverpool press and dominate Real Madrid for most of the game. The English side created chance after chance but failed to put them away. Ultimately, Los Blancos‘ only shot on target saw Real Madrid take the lead and win the title.

In the Premier League too, his side came up painfully short. Heading into the final matchday, Liverpool needed Manchester City to drop points to have any chance of winning the title. However, Guardiola’s side pulled off an amazing comeback win to crash Klopp’s hopes.

The German manager finished the season with two trophies to his name, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup. The question is: are domestic cups enough to warrant the award?

3. Carlo Ancelotti

The eyebrow that wins titles. (Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s manager was, quite comfortably, the most successful of the three nominees last season.

At the beginning of the season, Los Blancos were thought to be a team in transition that could not compete on multiple fronts. Yet, the manager instilled belief and determination into the side and almost won it all.

Real Madrid won La Liga by a whopping 13-point margin under his guidance. Heading into the final part of the season, it was almost a no-contest domestically.

While they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey prematurely in the quarterfinals, the Madrid-based club won the Supercopa de Espana beating Barcelona and Athletic Club in the process.

However, the manager’s biggest success came in the UEFA Champions League. His team did not just win the competition but pulled off a series of unbelievable comebacks to do so. Manchester City, Liverpool and PSG are just some of the world-class sides the club overcame en route to the UCL title.

Every time it appeared that Real Madrid would go down, they fought until the final second and found a way back. The development of such a champion mentality should be credited to Ancelotti, who is well-known for bringing the best out of his players and instilling non-restrictive football.


While all three managers had their fair share of success last season, it would appear that Ancelotti is the clear favourite to walk away with the title of ‘The Best Coach’ for 2021-22.

In recent years, the award has been exclusively awarded to the manager of the Champions League winning team. Thomas Tuchel and Hansi Flick won the award in 2020-21 and 2019-20, respectively for guiding their teams to the pinnacle of European football.

Moreover, it would only be fair to award Ancelotti the prize because it was his team that knocked out both Manchester City and Liverpool from the prestigious competition.

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Three talking points ahead of Sevilla vs Real Madrid



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Real Valladolid was far from convincing. They may have been the more effective side, but the Merengues were far from being the better team against Andoni Iraola’s men.

Saturday brings with it the team’s penultimate game of the campaign as Real Madrid take on Sevilla. The Andalusian side have not been impressive in La Liga this season but have always been one to turn up against the big teams. Tomorrow’s game is expected to be no different.

Carlo Ancelotti is expected to make drastic changes ahead of kickoff, especially given the incomplete squad travelling for the game. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Sevilla vs Real Madrid.

1. Final game on the road

The 2022-23 season has flown by in the blink of an eye. It may have been a rocky campaign and could have ended with better results, but there is a feeling that the squad has a lot to take away from the season as it is.

From the highs of completing a special Copa del Rey comeback win over Barcelona to the lows of losing three successive Clasicos, the men in white have seen it all. As the season now approaches the curtain-closing phase, Carlo Ancelotti and his men will be eager for a strong finish.

Sunday night will see the Merengues‘ final away game of the season as they travel to Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan to take on Sevilla. The 2021-22 champions have not had the best of seasons on the road in La Liga this season and a statement finish would go a long way in boosting the morale.

Sevilla have been far from their best this campaign domestically. Though they are well placed to taste glory in the UEFA Europa League once again, they languish in tenth place on the league standings with just 13 wins in 36 games.

Los Blancos boast a fine record at Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and are unbeaten at the stadium in their last eight appearances. Their last defeat at the venue came back in 2018, and the objective tonight will be to extend the aforementioned streak.

2. Tchouameni’s point to prove

Point to prove. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

As much as Aurelien Tchouameni’s initial months at the club were called paradise, the Frenchman has not had life easy at Real Madrid in his first season.

The Frenchman initially stepped in as a more than able replacement for Casemiro in the middle of the park. His astute reading of the game and defensive awareness made him a monster in midfield and his position in the starting lineup appeared safe.

Tchouameni’s situation, however, took a steep turn after the FIFA World Cup. Coming back from a fatiguing World Cup and a minor niggle, the defensive midfielder no longer found his name on the starting lineup as he became second fiddle to Eduardo Camavinga.

The entry of Toni Kroos as an option for the pivot role further reduced the Frenchman’s involvement.

The youngster thus has a point to prove on Sunday night. He is expected to start at the Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and will look to orchestrate the team’s play from deep in midfield whilst holding the fortress simultaneously. After all, it could be his final chance to prove his worth ahead of the new season.

3. Only three forwards

Real Madrid’s squad list only names three forwards making the trip to Seville to take on Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side – Rodrygo Goes, Eden Hazard, and Alvaro Rodriguez.

The manager does have a fourth option in Federico Valverde and could look to mix and match his options on the night. However, Carlo Ancelotti maintained a low profile on the starting lineup ahead of Sunday’s clash, especially when asked about Eden Hazard’s chances of participating.

Given that it is the team’s penultimate game of the season, Ancelotti could well look to start all three pure forwards on the night. After all, each has their own special reason to participate.

For Hazard, the game against Sevilla could well be his final away game in a Real Madrid shirt. The Belgian is reluctant to leave the club at the moment, but everything could change in June if he begins to attract interest.

In Alvaro Rodriguez’s case, tomorrow’s game presents itself as an audition to seal a place in next season’s dynamics. The youngster has impressed whenever given the chance so far and will look to keep his high level going.

Rodrygo Goes, arguably, needs the game the least of the three candidates. Yet, with Ancelotti publicly asking him to take more prominence, he has a point to prove.

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