Carlo Ancelotti has admitted his falling out with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez stemmed from substituting ‘egotistical’ Gareth Bale in a game against Valencia.
The Italian was in charge of Real Madrid between 2013 and 2015, leading the club to a Copa del Rey victory as well as the coveted 10th Champions League trophy, starting their recent domination of the European competition.
Why was Ancelotti sacked by Real Madrid? Four key things to know…
- Ancelotti spent two seasons in charge of Real Madrid, finally ending their wait for a 10th Champions League title in his first campaign.
- But the Italian was sacked by president Florentino Perez just a year later despite Real Madrid pushing La Liga winners Barcelona close.
- Ancelotti has revealed it came as a result of substituting Gareth Bale in a game against Valencia.
- The decision, which came after Bale had missed an opportunity when the pass was a better option, caused friction between Ancelotti and Perez.
But Ancelotti was sacked at the end of his second season in charge despite Real Madrid finishing two points behind La Liga champions Barcelona and reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League.
At the time, Real Madrid president Perez spoke of the difficult decision made for the good of the club – with Rafael Benitez coming in to replace Ancelotti.
However, Ancelotti has since revealed a falling out with Perez over his substitution of Bale against Valencia sparked the beginning of the end at Madrid.
“Altruism in a squad is important, because if there’s something that drives me mad, it’s people who are egotistic in a match situation,” the current Napoli boss told reporters.
“Those moments when a player really should pass the ball and he doesn’t. I paid for this in my own career.
“The reason the row with Florentino Perez exploded in Madrid was my substitution of Bale against Valencia. Bale should’ve passed it to Karim Benzema, who would’ve scored in front of an open goal, but instead he took the shot.
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“I hauled Bale off and the chaos erupted. Perhaps excessive altruism is also a limitation in a striker, as he needs a bit of egotism, but not if it’s over the top.
“It seems bad to say this, but if Napoli’s forwards were a little more egotistical, we might get a few advantages out of that.”
Ancelotti at Napoli: the story so far
After a spell at Bayern Munich in which he won the Bundesliga, Ancelotti returned to his native Italy to take charge of Napoli, replacing Maurizio Sarri last summer.
Ancelotti has had a fairly good start to life in Naples, winning 22 of his 35 games across all competitions with just five defeats. Napoli are currently second in Serie A, leading the best of the rest with Juventus storming clear at the top once more.
And, despite recently criticising the inefficiency of possession football at times, Ancelotti remains firm on quality football trumping a team with character.
“I think at the end of the day quality does pay off, but the quality must be supported by many other values that are just as important, such as determination, grit and in certain circumstances hunger, the taking on of responsibility,” he said.
“It’s what in Naples you call ‘cazzimma’. I’d like to see that kind of Napoli. If you ask me: ‘Do you prefer to have a team with character or one that plays good football?’ My response is, I prefer a team that plays good football. If you have a team that plays well and has character, then that’s even better.
“I believe a coach has to seek quality football, then character and a winning mentality grow with time. Sometimes you get players who are a little fragile in terms of character, but if you give them a very clear idea of what they have to do on the pitch with organisation, then they start to get more confident.
“If you send a nervous player out there with few tactical indications, he’s not going to perform.”