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Carlo Ancelotti’s secret weapon – his son, Davide

Written by on May 28, 2024

Once a footballer himself, Davide knew from an early age that he wanted to be a coach like his father. He understood tactics and would have a say on how to organise a team even as a youngster.

A naturally curious boy, if he was interested in something, he wanted to learn everything about it. As the son of one of Italy’s greatest tacticians, Davide became consumed with being the best he could be.

A sports science graduate, he joined his father’s staff at Paris St-Germain. At Bayern Munich, he became his father’s assistant coach. As he often states, his primary role is to offer his father a different tactical perspective. At Real Madrid, his value to the squad has grown more important.

Davide wants to learn all there is to learn about the game. He watches countless games around Europe, studying the opponents and reflecting on the data gathered on his own players. He oversees training, takes charge of set-piece routines and devises certain patterns of play.

However, his true value lies in his ability to look at specific moments in a game and quickly decide the route to victory.

Take the first league match of the 2022-23 season. Real Madrid had conceded an early goal to Almeria. It took until the 61st minute before they found the equaliser, but they needed a winner.

Luka Modric won a free-kick and Davide was seen giving detailed instructions to incoming substitute David Alaba on the sidelines. Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema stood over the ball, waiting to unleash the set-piece. Davide interjected. Speaking to his father, Davide made the case for why Alaba had to come on right away and take the free-kick.

The set-piece was on the right. It was in the ideal position for one of Alaba’s sweet left-footed strikes. The defender scored. The win was secured.

Davide, who speaks five languages, has good individual relationships with Real’s players. He can always be seen giving them instructions. He works with them after hours to develop their game.

As one example, take Karim Benzema’s defensive positioning at corners. That was something the French striker worked in with Davide, to improve his defensive contribution, to reduce the number of goals conceded from set-pieces.

Aurelien Tchouameni has spent plenty of time after regular training working with Davide to better understand how to receive the ball, how to turn his body and how to adapt his posture, permitting him to play in several positions. This has come especially handy as Madrid lost several centre-backs to injuries this season.

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