After three years of verbal jousting and incendiary remarks by former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, Madrid-based media outlets must be bored silly by new manager Carlo Ancelotti.
The 54 year old Italian has to be one of the kindest, most soft-spoken and pragmatic managers in all of world football.
For Madrid-based news sources like La Marca and Diario AS – who love nothing better than some sharp-toothed controversy – keeping things exciting in the Spanish capital could prove a real challenge this season.
Today the new man at the Bernabeu helm talked shop about a number of players, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Fabio Coencetrao, Kaka and even Tottenham’s Gareth Bale.
And somehow, he managed to do so without igniting one iota of controversy.
As to Ronaldo, Ancelotti said he is a “superstar” and a “great player” who he expects and hopes will sign a new deal (despite having two years left on his contract). “I am not responsible for the renewal of his contract,” Ancelotti explained, “but it won’t be a problem.”
Straight-forward, complementary, simple. Tough to poke holes in that.
When discussing Higuain, Ancelotti explained that he had spoken with the striker but it was a “private conversation.” The Italian then admitted that “[Higuain] is currently a Real Madrid player and I am happy to have him here.”
Again, clear-cut, private, complementary.
As for Coentrao, Ancelotti called him a “quality left-back” and a “useful player to have in the squad.” Like Ronaldo and Higuain, Ancelotti described the Portuguese international as “a Real Madrid player and I am happy to have him here.”
As to Kaka, Ancelotti gave perhaps his sharpest comment, admitting “he knows that he has to perform better than last year.” But the manager counter-balanced this by explaining that Kaka has started well, is a Madrid player and “is very confident and looking forward to the season.”
Ok, so Ancelotti gave us a little more here but given Kaka’s troubling form over the last few seasons, these comments are basically non-starters. It sounds like Kaka is in the same boat he’s always been in at Madrid – if he plays well and wants to stay, he’ll play.
But what about Bale, the man Zinedine Zidane has been pining over for ages?
Nothing to see here, folks. Ancelotti refused to be drawn on speculation, explaining “I am happy with the squad and I don’t want to talk about other players out of respect for those who are here.”
In short, Ancelotti is happy with the squad. Likes his players. Isn’t interested in speculation.
Yikes, if Madrid news outlets are going to continue to captivate they’re going to need to get a whole lot more creative during the 2013-14 season.
You can find Mike on Twitter @mprindi