Originally published in la Gazzetta dello Sport
Every week Football Italiano brings you a translation of one of la Gazzetta dello Sport’s interviews with a major name from the world of Italian football. This time it is the turn of Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti…
MILANO. Carlo Ancelotti knows that behind every question there’s always a motive. Therefore, being a former midfielder, he anticipates the next move, steals the ball and before the question is asked, he says very clearly “I want to stay at Milan. I’ve always maintained that to go on it takes two agreeing parties: I agree. On condition, obviously, that we finish at least third, and we earn the Champions League qualification. End of the matter. My aim, I repeat it so everybody understands it, is to coach Milan also into the next season”. Mr.Ancelotti, you must admit though that your name is being drawn close to many teams. Can it possibly be all invented?
“I go on with my job and don’t bother myself with these rumours”.
So you have never dined with Florentino Perez?
“Let’s not make jokes please, let’s keep it serious”.
Neither with Abramovich? I mean recently.
Alright. Let’s forget about the future for now and let’s talk about the present: what’s your justification for being 14 points behind Inter?
“Too many injured players: Nesta, Gattuso, Pirlo, Borriello twice, Kaka’, Bonera, Kaladze, And now Abbiati is out too. Basically so far we haven’t been able to put into action that summer renovation. New players were added, like Ronaldinho and Borriello, but we’ve always been in an emergency”.
Is it only because of the injuries?
“Just a number: 7. This year Milan had 7 players that were surgically operated. Far too many. It’s not easy to work in such conditions”.
Any other mistakes?
“After a slow start, we recovered brilliantly and in October we were top of the league. Then we lost a few points poorly, I’m thinking about the draws with Lecce and Torino, and a psychological problem came up. But believe me: a big part of trouble comes from the injuries. We played 10 matches without Kaka’. I’d like to see what Inter would do without Ibrahimovic for 10 matches…”.
What team impressed you the most during this championship?
“Allegri’s Cagliari. They play with our same system: 4 in defence, 3 midfielders, 1 trequartista and 2 strikers. They all move a lot, they are tidy, they’ve got balance and they never give the ball away. You need to learn also from these”.
The supporters would like the players to be changed completely, whilst you maintain that revolutions are unnecessary. Why is that?
“The supporters want to win. Full stop. I say that it’s not necessary to strongly intervene on this group. The basis is sound”.
The defence is weak.
“Abbiati is very reliable and so is Dida. Plus there’s going to be the addition of Thiago Silva and you are going to be surprised: he’s got extraordinary qualities. He’s as fast as the first Thuram, but much better technically. Confident with the ball and tactically clever”.
Alright, but that’s just one. What about the other 3 defenders?
“We’re alright for full-backs with Zambrotta and Jankulovski, and then there’s Oddo coming back from Bayern. We need to weigh up Nesta and Kaladze’s conditions. We might need someone in the middle”.
Who do you prefer among Agger, Kjaer and Miranda?
“I won’t say any name, I’ll only say that on an international level there are excellent defenders that are not very well known yet”.
What about strikers?
“I’m waiting for Borriello. When he played, not many matches unfortunately, he showed that he’s very important for us. I hope he can come back before the end of the season, but I’m not sure at all”.
Is Kaka’ staying at Milan?
“Milan can build beautiful seasons with Kaka’ and Pato. Ricky is staying”.
You’re aiming at the third place in the league to qualify for the Champions League and…
“…win it, obviously. Our aim is to be champions of Europe again”.
Don’t you think Milan is behind compared to Manchester, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern?
“When Milan are in shape, they can face anyone, any day. My Milan can easily face the English teams too”.
Who are Europe’s strongest team?
“Liverpool are the hardest one to face. Benitez is great. Attentive defence, perfect counter-attacks. To play against them is risky”
Riskier than playing against Manchester?
“Manchester are stronger, but they let you play. Liverpool don’t”.
Who’s the manager you admire the most?
“Hiddink. I like him as a person: he’s calm and balanced, a bit like me. And he’s very good professionally. He’s done great everywhere”.
Are Inter going to win the Scudetto?
“Let’s say that Juventus don’t have a great chance, but Juventus-Inter will be decisive”.
Why does Shevchenko never play? Is he finished?
“Sheva is not finished: he’s still got enthusiasm. The problem is that he hasn’t been active for a long time and therefore he got worse from physical point of view”.
It seems like Ronaldinho wants to leave.
“He’s not leaving. He had a problem to his heel and couldn’t make the most of the work he’s done in Dubai. He’ll get back to the top”.
Listen, after 8 years with Milan, don’t you feel like a change?
“I haven’t found a good reason to quit Milan yet. I feel good here and I’m going to stay for a long time”.