Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Greatest All-Time Team under Carlos Ancelotti


Champions' League title in 2014 with Real Madrid

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.


This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for Carlos Ancelotti (club only).  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.  

Carlos Ancelotti is one of only three managers to have won the UEFA Champions League three times (twice with Milan and once with Real Madrid), and one of only two to have managed teams in four finals. He has won the FIFA Club World Cup twice, managing Milan and Real Madrid. Ancelotti is also one of seven people to have won the European Cup or Champions League as both a player and a manager. He is regarded as one of the best and most successful managers of all time.

AC Milan winning 2002-2003 Champions' League
Team
GK: Edwin Van Der Sar (Holland/Juventus)
Van Der Sar is the most capped player in Holland's history with 130 caps.  He went to 1994, 1998 and 2006 World Cup and Euro 1996, 2000 and 2004.  He was best remembered for being the Ajax keeper in 1995 that won the Champions' League and then, later for Manchester United for 6 seasons.  He won the Champions' League in 2007-2008. In between, he also played with Fulham and Juventus.

GK: Manuel Neuer (Germany/Bayern Munich)
Manuel Neuer established Germany's number 1 before the World Cup Finals in 2010.  He helped Germany winning their 4th World Cup in 2014. He started with Schalke 04, but moved to rival Bayern Munich in 2010 becoming the second most expensive keeper of all-time. He is considered one of best goalkeeper in Germany's history.
Manuel Neuer 
GK: Dida (Brazil/AC Milan)
Remembered for his 8 seasons with AC Milan, Dida was the hero of the 2003 Champions' League Final when he helped Milan to win the penalty shootout against Juventus.  He became the first Brazilian keeper to be nominated for Ballon d' Or that year.  He had 91 caps for Brazil.  He went to three World Cup Finals and started in 2006 for the Seleção.

RB: Cafu (Brazil/AC Milan
Cafu is the all-time cap record holder for Brazil and considered one of Brazil's greatest fullbacks.  He is the only man to play in three World Cup Finals, winning in 1994 and 2002.  He was the captain of the national team as they won the World Cup in 2002.  He played with Sao Paulo, Roma and AC Milan. He was South American Player of the Year in 1994. 

RB/LB/DM: Philipp Lahm (Germany/Bayern Munich)
Philipp Lahm is the captain of the 2014 World Cup winning team.  He also won the treble in 2013 when Bayern Munich won the Champions' League, the German Cup and the Bundesliga.  He played briefly for VfB Stuttgart on loan. He earned 113 caps for Germany at the end of the World Cup Finals in 2014 where he retired from the national team.
Philipp Lahm 

CB: John Terry (England/Chelsea)
Terry is a top centre-back of his generation and was the captain for Chelsea during most of his Chelsea's rise to the top of English football starting in the season 2004-2005.  He won 4 Premiership titles and the Champions League in 2012.  For England, he earned 78 caps for England.  However, his career was overshadowed by several controversies.

CB: Alessandro Nesta (Italy/AC Milan)
Nesta  is considered one of the best defender of his generation.  He was the Serie A defender of the Year for 4 times.  He had over 70 caps for Italy.  He played in the 2006 World Cup winning team, but injured in the third game of the tournament.  He won two Champions' league with AC Milan.  He started his career with Lazio before joining AC Milan in 2002.  He also played in the MLS before retiring.

CB/RB: Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid)
Part of the all-conquering Spanish team that won the WC and two European Championships.  He is the youngest player ever to receive his 100th caps. He joined Real Madrid as a teenager. He scored the tying goal as Real Madrid won their 10th European Cup in 2014.  He also won his second Champions' League title by scoring a goal in the 2016 Final.  In 2017, he won his third Champions League Cup.
Sergio Ramos

CB: Pepe (Portugal/Real Madrid)
Born in Brazil, Pepe moved to Portugal playing for Maritimo.  In 2004, he moved to Porto while he established himself as one of the best defender in Portugal.  In 2007, he earned a dream move to Real Madrid.  At the time of writing, he won two Champions' league with them.  Although born in Brazil, he chose to represent Portugal.  At Euro 2016, he emerged as one of Portugal's best player as Portugal won their first ever international trophy.  He earned the Man of the Match in the Final against France.

CB: Thiago Silva (Brazil/PSG)
Thiago Silva  became the most expensive defender in history when he moved from Milan to Paris St. Germain.  Before moving to play in Europe, he played for Juventude and Fluminense in Brazil. He was a key player as Fluminense to the Final of VCopa Libertadores in 2008.  For the national team, he was the captain of Brazil ill-fated team in World Cup 2014, but did not play against Germany in the semifinal. He was an unused sub at the WC Finals in 2010.

CB/LB: Paolo Maldini (Italy/AC Milan)
He was considered the greatest leftback of all-time.  He won 26 trophies in his 25 year career with AC Milan, including 5 Champions' league trophies. With the Azzurri, Maldini took part in three European Championships, and four World Cups. He reached the finals of the 1994 World Cup in the US and Euro 2000, and the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup and Euro 1988, and was elected into the all-star teams for each of these tournaments, in addition to the Euro 96 all-star team.  He was capped 126 times for Italy. 

Paolo Maldini 

LB: Marcelo (Brazil/Real Madrid)
Marcelo started his career with Fluminense before making a dream move to Real Madrid in 2007.  He spent several years in and out of the lineup before establishing himself as one of the star of the team.  With them, he won three Champions' League titles in from 2014 to 2017.  At the time of writing, he has over 50 caps for Brazil and played at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

DM/CM: Xabi Alonso (Spain/Real Madrid/Bayern Munich)
Xabi Alonso started with Real Sociedad.  He joined Liverpool in 2004 winning the Champions' League trophy in his first season.  In 2009, he moved to Real Madrid, winning the Champions' League again in 2014.  In 2014, he joined Bayern Munich. He was a key member of the Spanish team that won the WC and two European Championships.  His 114 caps make him the fifth most capped player in the nation's history.

CM: Frank Lampard  (England/Chelsea)
Lampard was the all-time leading scorer for Chelsea.  he started his career with West Ham before joining Chelsea in 2001.  He won the Champions' League in 2012 and 3 Preimership with Chelsea.  He was runner-up at FIFA Player of the Year in 2015.  In 2014, he made a controversial move to Manchester City through a loan deal from NY City FC.  For England, he was a key player from 1999 and 2014.  The Lampard-Gerrard debate was a hot topic  throughout his career with England.

CM: Andrea Pirlo (Italy/AC Milan)
Pirlo started as an attack midfielder with Inter Milan without success before becoming a regista.  He redefined the regista role in recent years.  He won the World Cup in 2006 and took Italy to the Final of Euro 2012.  He played over 280 matches for AC Milan, winning two Champions' League titles.  He switched to Juventus late in his career.  Then, he played in New York City FC of the MLS.

CM/LM: Clarence Seedorf (Holland/AC Milan)
Seedorf is the first player to win three Champion League titles with 3 different clubs. He was a member of the Golden Generation from Ajax that won Champions League in 1995.  In 1996, he moved to Real Madrid, where he quickly established himself as a star.  He would win two Champions League title there.  He later played for both AC Milan and Inter Milan.  He was a key player for the Dutch national team.
Clarence Seedorf 

AM/CM: Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid)
Modric is one of the greatest playmakers of his generation.  He earned more 90 caps for Croatia.  He currently plays for Real Madrid and won the Champions' League for the 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 season.  He also played for  Dinamo Zagreb and Tottenham Hotspurs.  He played in the World Cup Finals of 2006 and 2014.  In 2018, he led Croatia to finish 2nd at the World Cup Finals.  He was voted the best player at the Finals.
Luka Modric
AM: Zinedine Zidane (France/Juventus)
Zinedine Zidane was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll, and has been described as one of the greatest players in the history of the game.  He won the FIFA World Player of the Year award three times.  He led France to victory at  the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.  With Real Madrid, he also won the Champions League in 2002, where he scored one of the greatest goals in history at the Final. 

RW/LW:  Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid)
Bale began his professional career at Southampton. Bale moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007. In 2011 and 2013, he was named PFA Players' Player of the Year.  His transfer to Real Madrid in 2013 was believed to be the most expensive in history.  He won three Champions League title with Real Madrid.  He scored the winning goal in the 2014 version. In 2016, he led Wales to reach the semifinal of Euro 2016.

AM/CM: Kaka (Brazil/AC Milan)
Kaka started his career with Sao Paulo in Brazil before moving to AC Milan in 2003.  He was the star player who helped Milan to win the Champions' League in 2007 and he himself won he Ballon d'or the same year.  In 2009, he left Milan for Real Madrid.  For Brazil, he was capped 92 times.  He was a young and seldom used player at the WC in 2002.  He was a key player after the WC Finals in 2002.
Kaka

FW/LW: Cristano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid)
He is one of the greatest forward of his generation.  He is the most expensive players in history from 2009-2013 when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid.  At the time of writing, he won the Ballon d'Or winner three times and won Champions' League titles with both Manchester United and Real Madrid.  In 2016, he helped Portugal to win the European Championship, a month after winning the Champions' League with Real Madrid.
Ronaldo

ST: Andrei Shevchenko (Ukraine/AC Milan)
Andrei Shevchenko is considered one of the greatest Ukrainian player in history.  He won the Ballon D'Or in 2004 and came 3rd on the World Player of the Year.  He was best remembered for his stint with AC Milan, winning the Champions' League in 2003.  He also played for Dynamo Kyiv and Chelsea.  He won 111 caps and scored 48 goals for the Ukraine. He captained them to the quarterfinal of the 2006 WC Finals.
Andrei Shevchenko

ST: Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast/Chelsea) 
Didier Drogba was voted African Footballer of the Year twice; 2006 and 2009.  He is probably Ivory Coast's greatest ever player. The best part of his career was spent with Chelsea.  He won the Champions' League for 20011-12. He also finished the top scorer in the Premiership twice.  He also played in France, MLS and China. For his country, he led Ivory Coast to the World Cup Finals in 2006, 2010 and 2014. He was also their all-time leading scorer.

ST: Filippo Inzaghi (Italy/AC Milan)
He is one of the most prolific goalscorers of all time, fifth in Italy, with 313 goals scored in official matches. He is currently the fourth-highest goal scorer in European club competitions with 70 goals.  With AC Milan, he won  two Champions League titles (2003, 2007). For Italy, he went to all major tournaments from 1998 to 2006.  He won the World Cup in 2006, but only played in one match.

ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden/PSG)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was born in Sweden of Bosnian-Croat origin.  He won Sweden Player of the Year 11 times.  He was the Serie A Player of the Year for 5 times.   He played with Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris St.Germain and Manchester United.  He is currently the second-most decorated active footballer in the world, having won 32 trophies in his career. At the time of writing, he has over 116 caps.  He is the all-time leading scorer for Sweden.  
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 

Honorable Mention
Alessandro Costacurta (AC Milan), Rui Costa (AC Milan), Jaap Stam (AC Milan), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Petr Cech (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Diego Lopez (Real Madrid), Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Arturo Vidal(Bayern Munich), Robert Lewandoski (Bayern Munich), Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus), Paolo Montero (Juventus), Fabio Cannavaro (Parma), Gianluigi Buffon (Parma), Lilian Thuram (Parma).

Squad Explanation
-- The team heavily geared toward Ancelotti's Champions' League winning teams with AC Milan and Real Madrid. I took 9 players from AC Milan and another 7 from Real Madrid.
-- Edwin Van Der Sar, Manuel Neuer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Didier Drogba, Zinedine Zidane, Frank Lampard, Thiago Silva, Philipp Lahm and John Terry did not won the Champions' league with Ancelotti.  
-- Gareth Bale scored two winning goals in both Finals for Carlos Ancelotti's "Double"(Copa del Rey and Champions League) in the 2013-2014 season.
-- Angel Di Maria was a key player as Real Madrid won the 2014 Champions' league. He made the honourable mention.
-- Lilian Thuram, Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluigi Buffon were very young when he played for Ancelotti with Parma.  I selected more seasoned players who played for Ancelotti at their prime.  Gianluigi Buffon joined Juventus after Ancelotti left the club.
-- Iker Casillas only played for him in the Champions' League in 2013-2014.  Diego Lopez started for him in La Liga games. He was a shadow of himself when he started again the season after. I took Dida over Cech because he won the Champions' league for Ancelotti.  Iker Casillas won the Champions' League, but his performance in the Final was poor.
-- His tenure with Bayern Munich was not very successful.  Thus, most of his key players did not make the all-time team.  I decided to take Neuer and Lahm.  I also felt the same way for his players at PSG, Chelsea and Juventus.

Formation
I put the best possible players into the lineup, but it is not necessarily a working formation. I am not sure if Xavi Alonso and Pirlo will work in the midfield. Kaka won a Champions League and the Ballon d'or while playing under Ancelotti, but I am not sure if he can play on the right.  He might get into the way of Zidane.  Ronaldo would have prefer playing with a false 9.






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