Ancelotti likens Everton progress to his former club

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23: Everton Manager Carlo Ancelotti after the Carabao Cup Quarter Final match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on December 23, 2020 in Liverpool, England. A limited number of fans (2000) are welcomed back to stadiums to watch elite football across England. This was following easing of restrictions on spectators in tiers one and two areas only. (Photo by Visionhaus)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23: Everton Manager Carlo Ancelotti after the Carabao Cup Quarter Final match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on December 23, 2020 in Liverpool, England. A limited number of fans (2000) are welcomed back to stadiums to watch elite football across England. This was following easing of restrictions on spectators in tiers one and two areas only. (Photo by Visionhaus) /
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Carlo Ancelotti has been speaking about how he sees parallels between Everton and one of the clubs he previously played for and managed. So do I.

The Everton boss has coached most of the continents top clubs including Real Madrid, possibly the biggest, but perhaps the club he is most strongly associated with is AC Milan.

Ancelotti of course isn’t just an outstanding manager, he was also an excellent player who was an integral part of the glittering Milan sides of the mid to late eighties.

That team won a league title, the Scudetto and back-to-back European Cups (as the Champions League was called then) in 1989 and 1990 and played some of the best football seen in that or any era. In a weird coincidence, Ancelotti won one league title and two Champions Leagues when he was Milan manager too.

He was a team mate of the three great Dutch stars of that side: Frank Rikjaard, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten. They were the backbone of a Holland team that won the European Championship in 1988 playing some dazzling attacking football in a tournament I remember well.

However, in the early part of that decade Milan were struggling badly. They had last won the Italian championship in 1978-79 but that was their only title since the late sixties.

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The club had a stellar domestic and European heritage having been the first Italian side to win the European Cup in 1963.

In the early eighties though Milan were a mediocre team who looked like their best days were behind them. While at the time their greatest traditional rivals Juventus, were the dominant force in Italian football in the seventies and early eighties.

That is very similar to Everton’s history at the time. The Toffees were also a great club with a rich tradition in the game but had fallen on hard times. Like Milan, the Blues biggest rivals Liverpool were the leading side in English football back then.

Again, just like the Italian club, Everton managed a huge revival in the middle part of that decade and went on to win major prizes at home and in Europe.

Milan’s resurgence had coincided with a takeover of the club by the wealthy Italian businessman Silvio Berlusconi. The controversial Berlusconi, truly a larger-than-life figure and a future Italian Prime Minister, pumped a lot of money into the club and financed the deals that brought Rikjaard, Gullit and van Basten to the San Siro.

Those outstanding Dutchman combined superbly with a plethora of homegrown talent like Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Roberto Donadoni and Ancelotti himself to create one of the best sides seen in recent European football.

When Ancelotti returned to the San Siro as manager he set about reviving his beloved Milan again and succeeded, bringing trophies and glory back to the club in the early 2000s.

Well the Blues have now got the wealthy owner and he is certainly not shy about putting money into the club or spending big on transfers.

And once again just like in the early eighties, unfortunately Everton are in the shadow of their neighbours who’ve won the Champions League and Premier League in the past two seasons.

Now Farhad Moshiri has the manager he’s always wanted, can they reproduce the success Ancelotti enjoyed at the Italian club as a player and a coach and once more revive the sleeping giant at Goodison Park? That would be something.