A look back at the immense success of Carlo Ancelotti at AC Milanby Chloe Beresford / 24 August 2018, 18:37Tweet
The glory days of AC Milan are fondly remembered by so many.
Following the arrival of new owner Silvio Berlusconi in 1986, the Rossoneri were transformed into a European super-club, their star players revered the world over.
The first of that group of famous superstars to arrive were Netherlands trio Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Marco Van Basten, and Coaches such as Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello steered the club to countless trophies in that decade.
In 2001, Carlo Ancelotti was appointed to revitalise a side that had endured a short period without any silverware and – despite interference in matters on the pitch from the inimitable Berlusconi – he did just that.
By the 2003/04 season, he had managed to put his own stamp on the team, changed the role of Andrea Pirlo and brought out the best from strikers Andriy Shevchenko and Pippo Inzaghi.
That year they lifted the Champions League, and – following a famous loss where they squandered a 3-0 half time lead in the final against Liverpool two years earlier – another would follow in 2007 against the same opponent.
Ancelotti’s eight-year spell at the club would end in 2009 as he left for Chelsea and the Premier League however – having also won two European Cups with the San Siro outfit as a player – he would always be a true legend in the hearts of the Milan supporters.
Excerpt from Carlo Ancelotti's autobiography on Milan's Champions League final triumph in Manchester in 2003. Including pasta [obviously]. pic.twitter.com/r8UI71CCZy— Archie Rhind-Tutt (@archiert1) March 14, 2017
This Saturday evening will see the Coach come face to face with the club he has become so synonymous with, returning to Italy with Napoli following a brief sabbatical following his sacking from Bayern Munich.
His first result was a 2-1 win away to Lazio last Saturday, his new side unconvincing in terms of performance, something that will have to be quickly rectified in order to achieve the same outcome versus a well-drilled Rossoneri.
“I am anxious and happy to face Milan,” revealed the experienced boss after last week’s victory.
“I will get to see Rino Gattuso and Paolo Maldini. They are a part of my history.”
Yet this will not be just a reunion for former stars of the famous San Siro stadium, as the match represents a real test of supremacy for these two sides.
Napoli are of course in transition after the departure of Maurizio Sarri and key asset Jorginho, and Ancelotti will be hoping to deliver a win versus his former team in front of the home supporters.
Milan are yet to make their debut in the 2018/19 campaign, their match with Genoa last weekend postponed following the tragic bridge collapse. There is genuine excitement even among neutrals to see how Gattuso will fare in this encounter, especially after he can boast former Napoli man Gonzalo Higuain in his side.
The Argentine hitman arrived in Milan this summer from Juventus, a move that surprised many as Leonardo Bonucci headed back to his old stomping ground after just one season away. This is extremely significant in the way that Gattuso had his side well-organised and working hard as expected last term, the XI only really lacking a proven goal scorer.
This has now been rectified and – now the club are under secure ownership – many fans are daring to believe that this time the future is actually looking bright. They may never again repeat the success that Carlo Ancelotti achieved there both as a player and a Coach, and this is exactly why Saturday night’s fixture is so significant.
Gennaro Gattuso understands from first-hand experience that his side is coming up against greatness on Saturday night, a factor that would make a win for them even sweeter.