Ancelotti: Give the Ballon d’Or to Cristiano
Real Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti believes that his star forward, Cristiano Ronaldo deserves the Ballon d’Or and feels that Barcelona forward, Leo Messi is not at 100% fitness.
In his recent interview with Spanish radio station, Onda Cero’s ‘Al Primer Toque’ programme, Ancelotti discussed the race for the Ballon d’Or and the various topics that continuously surround the club.
“Give [the Ballon d’Or] to Cristiano Ronaldo. For me, the best player right now, is Cristiano. He’s the top scorer in La Liga and the Champions League, if we’re talking about technical quality, he’s the best. He is a great professional and his focus is amazing. This is the key to playing at his level. He hasn’t missed a single minute, nor does he want to. He’s friendly and he makes the atmosphere fun. He’s great and he seems like he’s a happy person. I also enjoy Ibrahimovic last year. Messi?? He’s always critical to his club and I don’t think he’s in optimum fitness at the moment.”
Ancelotti then moved on to discuss the other topics at his club; Sergio Ramos’ position, Xabi Alonso’s renewal and the goalkeeping debate.
“I may put Ramos as a full-back again, I might not. It’s not written in stone that he’s going to play on the side. The situation with Ramos against Juventus on the side was mostly to try and control the long ball, the second post…
“The best news was that Xabi was back. I call Xabi Alonso ‘The Professor.’ He has the characteristics to be a very important player in our system. There is no need to convince anyone for Xabi to renew, everyone knows how important he is, the club and the fans are convinced he’ll return and I think the player’s desire is to renewal and stay here because he’s comfortable. It’s good for everyone that he’s returned to the Spanish national team. Spain needs a player like Xabi Alonso.
“It’s very complicated when you have two goalkeepers playing at such a high level. In Valdebebas, the debate was over when I made the decision for Diego Lopez to play in La Liga and Casillas in the Champions League and Cups. I don’t know if they feel comfortable with my decision, but both are doing very well. For them, the decision isn’t ideal, but the team isn’t feeling bad. I’ve made many difficult decisions in my career. In my first year in Italy, in Parma, the same thing happened. There was a goalkeeper who played with the Italian national team and after five matches I benched him and put in a very young goalkeeper, his name is [Gianluigi] Buffon.
“Iker and Diego are two phenomena. Casillas’ stops against Juventus proves that he’s fine, but I decided in the pre-season that Diego Lopez, who started earlier, was in better shape. I said that I don’t want to be known as the coach that let Casillas leave. I want to be known as the coach that gave Casillas the possibility to life ‘La Decima.’”
Ancelotti then discussed his 16 different line-ups in 16 different matches, the criticisms that have come along with it and Atletico Madrid’s ability to rival them for the La Liga title.
“I have the different line-ups because I like change. It’s a very important time in the season, where we play every three days. I have a squad that gives me confidence and that’s why I change things a bit. There’s no difference if you play Arbeloa or Carvajal.
“Atletico Madrid are very confident, they have extraordinary motivation and are having a fantastic season. They’re a team that has everything. They will fight until the end. I am not satisfied with reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League. I’ve played in many. We are going to try to win, it’s not easy, it’s the most difficult competition. Real Madrid haven’t played in the final since 2002, normally when they do, they win.
“It’s a dream to coach Real Madrid. The work is always the same but there’s more pressure here. I haven’t regretted coming to Real Madrid. I’m always working calmly. For me, the pressure is adrenaline, gasoline. Criticism, from time to time, opens your eyes to better control things. The only thing that bothered me was the criticism of my son (who is working for the club). There shouldn’t be a problem for my son to be working here, just because his name is Ancelotti. He does a great job, the only thing is that he hasn’t had previous experience [in his field], but he’s studied a lot and I have a lot of confidence in him.”
Ancelotti concluded by discussing president, Florentino Perez.
“He’s like the president of AC Mila because they are ‘tiffosi’ of their teams. They start out being fans as children and later become presidents of the club.”