Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has heaped praise on Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, claiming that he is a big fan of the Spaniard’s coaching methods.
Ancelotti, widely regarded as one of the best managers of all time, has name-dropped Arteta as a coach he admires because of his style of play, and possession-based philosophy.
The Italian was speaking to Radio Serie A, and was asked about coaches across Europe who could emulate his work. Whilst he believes no one in the modern game can replicate what he has done over the years, he did highlight the work of a few managers.
“There is no new coach who’s exactly like me. I like both those who bet on possession, like Guardiola, De Zerbi and Arteta, & those who are able to motivate the players, like Bordalás, who I met & is very nice. I like the way he motivates the team,” he stated, in quotes via Managing Madrid.
When Arteta was appointed as Arsenal manager in December 2019, the club could have gone down a very different route to replace Unai Emery.
Ancelotti himself was unemployed and eventually agreed to take the vacant job at Everton at the same time as Arteta returned to Arsenal.
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In fact, both were in the stands watching their new sides battle out a 0-0 draw at Goodison Park, with interim bosses Freddie Ljungberg and Duncan Ferguson showing the two managers just how big their rebuild tasks would be.
Many argued at the time that Arsenal should have gone for a proven option in Ancelotti instead, but based on what has happened since, the club made the right call with Arteta.
Ancelotti jumped ship from Everton after less than two years to return to Real Madrid, whilst Arteta’s rebuild has taken Arsenal from mid-table to title challengers. If Arsenal had instead gone with the Italian, they may still be struggling with instability at the top.
A coach with Ancelotti’s pedigree highlighting Arteta’s Arsenal as a team to admire is quite the statement, and the best is yet to come.