From Parma to Real Madrid: Ranking Carlo Ancelotti Coaching Tenures

Throughout the last three decades, Carlo Ancelotti has slowly but surely cemented himself as one of the all-time greats of the sport. But despite being amongst the most decorated tacticians in history, the Italian was still searching for an achievement that truly distinguishes him from the rest of the pool and consolidates his spot in the GOAT debate, and he finally earned it by leading Real Madrid towards the club’s 35th La Liga title, and subsequently becoming the first manager to win all five major domestic leagues in European football.

The former midfielder began his coaching career as an assistant for Arrigo Sacchi who was in charge of the Italian national team at the time, before enjoying a successful spell at Serie B side Reggiana. Ancelotti then got his first major gig at Parma, and the rest as they say, is history.

So let’s rank the 62-year-old’s major coaching tenures, based on the success found at each club.

9- Napoli (2018-2019)

During Maurizio Sarri’s reign, Napoli became the ultimate leaders of the anti-Juventus coalition and were on the cusp of ending the Bianconeri’s reign of terror over Italian football.

So when Ancelotti signed for the southerners, many felt that his wisdom and experience would prove to be the Partenopei’s missing piece in Aurelio De Laurentiis’ jigsaw.

But on the contrary, the team regressed under the guidance of the experienced coach. Despite finishing second in his first season, the Campanians never posed a real threat for Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates.

Things only got sour in the second season, as the poor results caused a major friction between the president and the players which culminated in mutiny led by Lorenzo Insgine.

Ancelotti paid the price for the whole debacle as he received his marching orders in the middle of the campaign.

8- Juventus (1999-2001)

This one was doomed from the very beginning.

After ending his playing career as a Milan legend, Juventus fans weren’t too fond of the young tactician who replaced Marcello Lippi in the middle of the season.

During his two full campaigns in Turin, Ancelotti came close to lifting the Scudetto title, only to finish as a runner-up for Lazio in 2000 and Roma in 2001.

The news of the coach’s dismissal was famously announced at halftime on the final matchday of the 2000/2001, at a time when the Bianconeri were still technically in the midst of the Scudetto battle.

A fitting ending for a troublesome stint.

7- Bayern Munich (2016-2017)

During his first season at Bayern Munich, the Italian lifted the Bundesliga title. However, this counts very little in a league that is completely dominated by one superpower. After all, the Bavarians had mainly signed him because they felt he would be the right profile to deliver European glory.

Therefore, when the second season started with a humbling Champion League defeat to PSG, Ancelotti was sent packing in September 2017. For the first time in his career, the reputable tactician had apparently lost the dressing poor and was sacked in the middle of the season.

The Carlo Ancelotti Early Coaching Days at Reggiana

6- Parma (1996-1998)

The manager’s time at the Ennio Tardini was arguably a mixed bag, but it was a great learning experience for a young man who was still making his first steps in the thorny world of coaching.

Ancelotti led Parma towards a second place finish in his first campaign, but the Crusaders lost momentum in the following campaign which saw them crossing the finish line in 6th place.

5- Everton (2019-2021)

Like a Hollywood actor who decides to take a minor role on the back of a major blockbuster, Ancelotti opted to challenge himself in the Premier League’s mid-table at Everton.

Instead of ruing his luck for how his disastrous reign at Napoli had unfolded, the veteran tactician immediately jumped ship when the opportunity presented itself in Merseyside.

His second tenure in England allowed him to re-sharpen his tools in a less tense environment, while collecting decent results.

Last season, he led the Toffees towards a 10th place finish, which can be considered as a satisfying achievement compared with the club’s current struggles.

4- Paris Saint Germain (2012-2013)

Ancelotti landed in the French capital in the middle of the 2011/12 season, but didn’t have enough time to salvage the club’s campaign, as Montpellier shocked the country by running away with the title.

However, he made up for it by lifting the Ligue 1 trophy at end of his second season, before leaving the joyous Parisians in favor of Real Madrid.

This remains arguably one of the coaches’ most underrated stints. Now surely winning the league title at PSG sounds like a forgone conclusion nowadays, but back then, the club was enduring major changes with new stars making their arrival and some of them struggling to adapt.

Therefore, the Italian deserves some credit for his ability to forge a cohesive squad and avoiding a dramatic fallout in a locker-room filled with untamed egos, and laying the first stone that launched a winning dynasty.

3- Chelsea (2009-2011)

The Stamford Bridge had always been a warm home for Italian managers, but it was Ancelotti who oversaw what was arguably Chelsea’s most successful domestic campaign.

In 2010/2011, he guided the Blues towards a domestic double by lifting the Premier League and the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history.

But as it was often the case during Roman Abramovich’s ownership, the Russian was always happy to wield the axe on the back of a trophy-less campaign, which was the case for Carlo following his second campaign in West London.

2- Milan (2001-2009)

Despite leading a host of top clubs all around Europe since leaving the San Siro Stadium, Ancelotti’s name will forever be associated with that of Milan.

During his illustrious reign at his beloved club, he famously led the Rossoneri towards three Champions League finals, and lifted the trophy on two occasions.

However, his stint in Milano was marred by two negative points: His lack of domestic success (A lone Scudetto title and not a single Coppa Italia trophy in eight seasons) and that surreal collapse in Istanbul.

1- Real Madrid (2013-2015 and 2021-present)

During his initial stint in Madrid, Ancelotti sealed Los Blancos’ long-awaited 10th Champions League trophy from his first attempt. But following a less successful second season, the two parties decided to part ways in 2015.

However, Ancelotti must have left the Spanish capital with one major regret. Now surely he had consolidated his legendary status at the European scene with a third CL trophy, and winning the Copa Del Rey was an added bonus, but missing out on La Liga title was definitely hard to swallow for the trophy hunter.

Hence, this explains why the Italian immediately heeded the call when Real Madrid knocked on his door for the second time. The decorated manager returned to rectify his shortcoming and lift the trophy that alluded him during his original tenure in Spain.

Los Merengues found minimal opposition under the guidance of the returning boss on the domestic front, as they secured La Liga title with three rounds to spare.

For Ancelotti, he can still solidify his Spanish stint with more achievements, and has already managed to reach the Champions League Semi Finals in his third season with Real Madrid.

It remains to be seen if he’ll be able to reach his fifth final in Europe’s elite club competition when his side hosts Manchester City on Wednesday for the second leg.

But win or lose, the Italian has already carved his name in golden letters at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.