Carlo Ancelotti is back in charge at Real Madrid

Real Madrid’s coach Carlo Ancelotti looks on before their King’s Cup final soccer match against Barcelona at Mestalla stadium in Valencia April 16, 2014. REUTERS/Sergio Perez (SPAIN – Tags: SPORT SOCCER)CODE: X00213

Real Madrid have hired the Italian to replace Zinedine Zidane, with the 61-year-old returning to the club he previous coached with success between 2013 and 2015. 

Carlo Ancelotti is back in charge at Real Madrid. The Italian has been brought back to the club he previously coached between 2013 and 2015, when he won Real Madrid’s 10th European Cup – the long-awaited Décima. He replaces his former assistant Zinedine Zidane and will reunite with several of his former players. He’s one of the greatest managers of the modern era, but here are some things you might not know about Carlo.  

Entrenador del club Real Madrid ANCELOTTI – Carlo Ancelotti (53) zidane durante el partido de la Liga BBVA, jornada 15, en el que se enfrentan los equipos Real Madrid CF y Real Valladolid CF Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, España el 30/11/2013. /// Real Madrid Coach ANCELOTTI – Carlo Ancelotti (53) zidane during round 15 of the BBVA league, soccer match between Real Madrid CF – Real Valladolid CF at the Santiago Bernabeu estadium, Madrid – Spain by November 30, 2013. // Miguel Lopez.

He was one of the finest players of his generation 

Ancelotti hung up his boots back in 1992, so not all football fans remember watching him play. But those who did see him play will remember Ancelotti as one of the best midfielders of his generation. The Italian formed part of Arrigo Sacchi’s legendary AC Milan side, winning back-to-back European Cups with the Rossoneri in 1989 and 1990. 

He grew up on a farm 

Born in Reggiolo, a town equidistant between Parma and Bologna, Ancelotti spent his childhood on a farm and helped his family out with the work on the fields. They produced parmesan cheese and Ancelotti helped to milk the cows, a responsibility he has since said taught him the value of being patient.  

He once appeared on Star Trek! 

Carlo has made it on to the big screen, enjoying a small cameo in the 2016 movie ‘Star Trek Beyond.’ When in Vancouver to visit the set, he spoke to director Justin Lin and was given the cameo role. “I play the part of a scientist who has to examine an alien,” he said afterwards. “It was good. I pretended it was Cristiano Ronaldo in front of me!” 

He’s still in with a chance of making history 

Ancelotti’s coaching career has taken him all across Europe, and he’s won the league title in Italy, England, France and Germany. Until now, though, LaLiga Santander has eluded him. It was Atlético de Madrid and Barcelona who lifted the title during his first stint at Real Madrid. This season, he’ll look to make further history by becoming the first coach to win a championship in all five of Europe’s biggest domestic leagues.  

He has a strong relationship with much of the Real Madrid squad, new and old 

This is Ancelotti’s second stint in charge at Real Madrid and has already worked closely with the likes of Varane, Kroos, Casemiro, Isco, Modric and Martin Ødegaard, even giving the young Norwegian his debut as a 16-year-old. And don’t forget, he’s also close to new superstar David Alaba, having worked with the Austrian international while at Bayern Munich.  

Tagged : /

New FC Barcelona signing: Emerson Royal

Among LaLiga’s most impressive rising stars is Brazilian right-back Emerson, who has just confirmed his long-awaited move to FC Barcelona from Real Betis.  

Emerson may have only turned 22 last January, but with four goals and ten assists across the last two seasons in green and white, he has an excellent claim to be perhaps the most productive attack-minded defender in LaLiga Santander. 

Born in Sao Paulo in January 1999, Emerson gained his first football education at local side Ponte Preta, before moving to giants Atletico Mineiro while still a teenager. Regular appearances in Brazil’s Serie A brought interest from many European clubs, and he made the leap to join Real Betis in January 2019. 

Emerson was gradually introduced into the Real Betis first team set up by then coach Quique Setien, with one of his first three LaLiga starts coming in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the city derby at Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan. Having settled well in the Andalusian capital, and with a good pre-season behind him, Emerson was the automatic first choice right-back in time for the 2019/20 season. 

He heads to Barcelona on the back of a stellar season with Real Betis. He was a key part of Manuel Pellegrini’s team which put together a remarkable 2021 – in which they lost just twice, to title challengers Barcelona and Sevilla – to finish sixth in style and bag a Europa League spot.  

Emerson’s potential has also been quickly spotted by Brazil’s national teams. He featured regularly throughout 2019’s South American Under-20 championships and could well have represented his country at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan but for postponement due to COVID-19. Already a senior international, he looks set to form a long-term partnership on either side of the Brazil back four with Atletico Madrid left-back Renan Lodi, who has also broken into the set-up at the same time. 

The athletic and intelligent Emerson’s attack-minded contributions from right-back have brought to mind another Brazilian who first made his LaLiga mark in the Andalusian capital, and he now follows in Dani Alves’ footsteps by joining Barcelona this coming season. Given how he has settled in Spain so far, it would be no surprise to see the rising star becoming the starting right-back at the Camp Nou over the next decade. 

Emerson’s first two seasons in LaLiga have been impressive, but don’t doubt that there is plenty still to come from one of LaLiga’s most talented and determined rising stars. 

Tagged : /

Eric Garcia joined FC Barcelona from Manchester City

FC Barcelona have announced the signing of Eric Garcia from Manchester City, effective from June 1st. The 20-year-old Catalan centre-back has signed a long-term contract until 2026, with a release clause of €400 million.  

His arrival will remind Barça fans of Gerard Pique’s return to the Camp Nou in 2008, who also returned to his boyhood club after a spell in the northwest of England with City’s cross-town rivals Manchester United. “I like to be compared to Piqué, but there is no comparison. I am starting my career and he has been the best for 10 years. Being his partner today is a great challenge for me,” said Garcia at his presentation.  

He wants to make a name for himself, obviously. And for those who aren’t too aware of Garcia, his story and talents, here are five things you need to know about Barça latest signing.  

1. Eric joined the Barcelona’s La Masia youth academy when he was just 7 years old in 2008. He went on to captain all the Barça youth teams he played for. From his time in the youth team set-up, he’s very close friends with Ansu Fati; they played together for five seasons and will now team up again in the Barça first team.  

2. As a central defender, Eric has always said that his footballing references are two legendary FC Barcelona centre-backs: Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol. 

3. ​​Eric wore the number ‘3’ through his time at the academy, the same number as Gerard Piqué. And just like the 34-year-old club icon, he has traveled the same path before returning to the Barça first team: jumping from the Blaugrana academy to the city of Manchester. Piqué played for Manchester United, Eric for Manchester City. Piqué moved to the Premier League at the age of 17; Eric did so at the age of 16. Both spent four seasons in England before returning to the Camp Nou. Everyone knows how the return turned out for Gerard Pique… will history repeat itself with Eric Garcia? 

4. Eric made his debut for Manchester City’s first team in an official match on 18 December 2018, at the age of 17, against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup. In 2017/18, his first season in England, he crossed paths with Barcelona’s U-19 side in the Final Four of the UEFA Youth League, with his Manchester City side running out 5-4 losers. That elimination did not prevent Eric from putting together an enviable record across his four years with the club led by Barcelona legend Pep Guardiola: a Premier League title (2020/21), three consecutive Carabao Cups (2018/21) and a Community Shield (2019). 

5. Eric has already shone for the Spanish national team. He played for each of his country’s youth sides, winning the 2017 U-17 European Championships by beating England – featuring the likes of Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Callum Hudson-Odoi – in the final, and the 2019 U-19 Euros, playing every minute of the tournament. Still just 20 years old, he made his senior debut for La Roja in September 2020 and was named in Luis Enrique’s squad for the Euro 2020 finals this summer.  

Tagged : /