One of the most renowned coaches in modern day football, Carlo Ancelotti has had a fair amount of success as a player too. Widely regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation in Italy, he played for Parma, Roma, AC Milan and the Italian national squad, between 1976-1992 scoring a total of 35 goals in 338 appearances for all the clubs combined.
A stand-out moment in his club career came when he scored a long-range goal while playing for AC Milan in a European Cup semi-final against Real Madrid, which the Rossoneri triumphed 5-0 before going on to win the coveted title.
Started at Parma, established at Roma
More popularly known as ‘Carletto’, he joined Parma at the age of 17 in 1976, which was a team that played in Serie C at the time. He established himself as a prominent name during this spell and was also considered to be one of the best young players in the country.
Three seasons later, Roma came calling and Ancelotti responded by moving to the capital. It was here that he established himself as one of the finest midfielders in Italy, winning a Scudetto in his fourth season (1982-83) with the club as well as four Coppa Italia titles.
In the following season, the Gialorossi reached the final of the European Cup due to some brilliant performances by the Italian throughout the season. Injury meant that he would be ruled out of the finals of the tournament, where Roma lost to Liverpool 4-2 on penalties after the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Roma also finished second in Serie A but managed to win the Coppa Italia to add some respectability to the season.
Ancelotti made 171 league appearances for the club, scoring on 12 occasions while playing a pivotal role in Roma’s midfield.
Gialorossi to Rossoneri
The most successful phase in Carletto’s club career came when he moved to AC Milan in 1987, winning the Scudetto twice (1987-88, 1991-92) and two consecutive European Cups (1988-89, 1989-90).
At the San Siro, he shared the pitch along with the legendary Paolo Maldini, Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit, Marco Van Basten and many others. He was considered to be the predecessor of Pirlo in his deep, defensive and tactical role in the Rossoneri squad.
Although Ancelotti didn’t possess a notable physique or athletic characteristics, he was known for his calm, composed and defensive midfield play coupled with accurate long-range passes, a great vision, and excellent technical abilities.
At Milan, he also won a Supercoppa Italiana and two UEFA Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup trophies, each in the same years as he won the European Cups.
International Career and Retirement
Ancelotti was capped 26 times in the decade he played for the Italian national team. He was named in the 1982 World Cup squad that eventually went on to win the trophy, although he missed out on every match due to a knee injury.
He represented the Italian team in the next two World Cups (1986, 1990) but failed to leave an impression at the international stage as the team, being the hosts, only managed to finish in third place with a third place finish at the 1990 World Cup.
A year later in 1991, Ancelotti announced his retirement from the international football scene. He retired from professional football exactly a year later, but not before winning his last Scudetto with the Rossoneri.
Ancelotti later went on to be regarded as one of the best managers of his era with clubs like Parma, Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris-Saint Germain and Real Madrid. His list of achievements include securing a promotion to Seria A for Parma, winning a domestic title with AC Milan, Chelsea and PSG, and lifting the Champions League trophy twice with Milan and once with Real – leading them to La Decima, their tenth Champions League title.
He is one of the two managers to have won three European Cups (or the Champions League), the other being Bob Paisley. He is also one of just six people to have lifted the Champions League trophy, both as a player and a manager.