In an exclusive interview with DW, Bayern Munich head coach Carlo Ancelotti spoke about his relationship with the club. He also reflected on the similarities between coaching and conducting an orchestra.
DW began the interview by giving Carlo Ancelotti a quote from the late German conductor Herbert von Karajan to read.
Carlo Ancelotti: Quote: "Conducting is the art of knowing when not to disturb an orchestra."
Yes, yes! I completely agree. There are two different kinds of coaches. There are coaches who cause a lot of upheaval, and then there are coaches who cause no upheaval. That's why I think that this comparison between an orchestra and a football team is very apt. Because I believe that a football team also has to follow a score.
DW: You have got to know a lot of international clubs, their players, their structures, and above all their bosses. How does Carlo Ancelotti manage to adapt to each one?
Each club has its own identity. There are intimate clubs like AC Milan, and there are clubs that are run as companies, as businesses, like Real Madrid, Chelsea, or Paris Saint Germain, where the economic aspect is very important. In contrast, you have clubs that are managed, like I say, in a more intimate way, where a lot of value is placed on interpersonal relationships. Like here at FC Bayern, the structures here are very similar to those I experienced at AC Milan.
You've been the coach here at FC Bayern since summer 2016. Why?
Firstly, Bayern needed a coach, after Pep Guardiola left. Secondly, I needed a new job (laughs). I met with the responsible people here at the club, because I was idle. When I stopped working for Real Madrid, I had a very strong wish to work for Bayern.
In Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rumminigge, Bayern have two very strong, dominant personalities…
They're very passionate, they're real football experts. For the first time, I have a working relationship with presidents who really know their stuff. Therefore, they don't immediately begin to panic when things aren't going so great. Because in football, things don't always work as you'd like them to.
As you mentioned panic - two weeks ago Uli Hoeness said that he and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge were getting nervous in tight games, but that you reassured them with the words "Gentlemen, it'll be fine…"
(Laughs) Because I'm an optimist.
Mr. Ancelotti, you love food. If FC Bayern was a dish, what would it be?
Definitely a typical Bavarian dish - a Schnitzel or roast pork, for example.
And what drink?
Ahh…beer of course!
FC Bayern and Carlo Ancelotti fit together like…
Schnitzel and potatoes.
You have worked with great players and they have always spoken highly of you. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said that he would go through fire for you.
Well, he's exaggerating a bit there. But I have to say, my relationship with my players has always been very good. I've always got on very well with them, I still do, and I will continue to.
There are two perspectives on footballers. You normally only see them from outside, from the perspective of the fans or the media. But there is another viewpoint, the one behind the scenes. I see players who are serious, professional, driven, and altruistic. Ibrahimovic is one of them.
Ibrahimovic is someone who has been cast as an eccentric. But really, he's very concentrated, and works hard for his team.
You have a very good reputation in general. What do you wish for in terms of how the Bayern players think of you?
I think the most important thing in my job is my interactions with people, and I don't just mean with the players, my interactions with everyone I work with. That's the key. Of course I have a closer relationship with the players than with the board or with other colleagues. I have a direct relationship with the players, because I'm the one who's responsible for the sound of the orchestra. It's my job to convince the players to follow a score, but what would I wish for?
Yes, what do you hope for?
Well, nothing in particular, really. I know that there's already a close relationship with the players and that we can achieve things this year. The key is respect.
Born in 1959 in Reggio in northern Italy, Carlo Ancelotti followed an outstanding career as a footballer in Serie A and in the Italian national team with an even more impressive record as a coach. He is the only coach to have won the Champions League three times.
On top of that, he has won the league in all of the countries in which he has worked as a coach: in Italy, England, France, Spain, and – it's looking likely - soon, probably in Germany as well, with FC Bayern, where he took over as head coach this summer.
The interview was conducted by Elisabetta Galla.