How Bay­ern’s

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Sam Wallace -

Hoe­ness had pre­sented them­selves at the train­ing ground to tell Ancelotti that it just was not work­ing.

On sack­ing him they agreed on one thing: that Ancelotti had made en­e­mies of cer­tain play­ers. Hoe­ness, fa­mously out­spo­ken, said there were five play­ers who had taken against their man­ager. The Sud­deutsche Zeitung news­pa­per ac­cused Ancelotti of fail­ing at his “core com­pe­tency”, that be­ing an abil­ity to soothe egos, a qual­ity deemed vi­tal after the high­pres­sure Pep Guardi­ola era.

The “diva-whis­perer” was the best nick­name ever as­signed to Ancelotti, the man who can calm the fever­ish at­mos­phere at a su­per-club and make ev­ery big dog in the squad be­lieve that the mir­ror on the dress­ing room wall makes him the fairest of them all.

The cu­ri­ous part of his reign at Bay­ern is that it de­fied the usual stereo­typ­ing of a man­ager whose modus operandi is per­ceived to be, so to speak, that he gen­er­ally pats the cush­ions on the sofa rather than re­ar­rang­ing the fur­ni­ture.

At Bay­ern,

Ancelotti wanted to make big changes and over­see the phas­ing out of the great side of the early part of the decade in favour of some­thing else, but even at a club as prag­matic as this one, he met re­sis­tance.

Robert Le­wandowski’s re­cent out­spo­ken at­tack on Bay­ern’s un­der­whelm­ing sum­mer trans­fer window re­flected Ancelotti’s own thoughts. They had lost Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm and there did not seem to be the ap­petite to re­place them with sim­i­lar big names. Ancelotti wanted to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arse­nal but the board were not of the same mind and in the end they set­tled for the com­pro­mise of James Ro­driguez on loan from Madrid, a strange kind of sign­ing for a club of Bay­ern’s scope.

As for the anti-Ancelot­tis on Hoe­ness’s list, it would not be a stretch to put Franck Ribery, Ar­jen Robben, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller among them. It was Ancelotti’s feel­ing that Ribery, 34, and Robben, 33, were at the age where he could not jus­tify picking them ev­ery week, and that was a point of difference with the club’s most pow­er­ful fig­ures that kept com­ing back to haunt him.

Both play­ers wield enor­mous in­flu­ence, and so too Muller. Ancelotti also had a dif­fi­cult re­la­tion­ship with Boateng. In the end it was the play­ers who won the day, very much backed by the club’s board. Ancelotti has been around long enough to know that if you do not win the big games then you had bet­ter hope you are on the right side of the pol­i­tics. After all, when his Chelsea ca­reer came to an end in May 2011, he was sacked in a cor­ri­dor at Good­i­son Park by Ron Gourlay and was not even sure of a seat on the flight home.

At Bay­ern he had lost Manuel Neuer to in­jury, a key part of the team, and the re­place­ment was be­low the stan­dard of Ger­many’s great sweep­er­keeper.

Bay­ern’s big­gest sin­gle sum­mer out­lay was on Corentin Tolisso from Lyon for £37.3mil­lion. There were oth­ers too, in­clud­ing the Hof­fen­heim pair Nik­las Sule and free agent Se­bas­tian Rudy. Rum­menigge is the lead­ing critic of the ex­plo­sion in trans­fer fees, and while at times he has a point, Bay­ern’s ex­pec­ta­tion is also that they will com­pete with the clubs pay­ing big money.

On the day of the game in Paris, Rum­menigge and Hoe­ness made it clear that they were in the Robben and Ribery camp when they were around the squad, which was un­for­tu­nate given nei­ther were to start. Ancelotti stuck to his guns and in do­ing so raised the stakes con­sid­er­ably. He knew that the Bay­ern bosses wanted the pair in the team and leav­ing them out brought mat­ters to a head, al­though much of the sub­se­quent jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the sack­ing cen­tred on a be­lief that Bay­ern had failed to de­velop tac­ti­cally from the side Guardi­ola left behind.

Against PSG they did in­deed look leaden in de­fence, while dom­i­nat­ing posses­sion – a stodgy sort of posses­sion, it should be said, which con­trasted sharply with the home team’s ruth­less­ness on the coun­ter­at­tack. Ancelotti has not been able to dis­guise an age­ing side’s short­com­ings against PSG but it has been con­ve­nient to blame the re­gres­sion on him alone, when the Ital­ian made quite clear that more rad­i­cal action than the board were pre­pared to au­tho­rise was needed in the sum­mer. Bay­ern would like their next man­ager to be Ju­lian Nagels­mann, the 30-year-old coach­ing phe­nom­e­non whose Hof­fen­heim side beat Bay­ern this month, al­though the timescale could be tricky given that he is un­likely to come mid-season. Quite some task awaits this young man who will have to re­build the Bay­ern team as Ancelotti had him­self hoped to do, and now Nagels­mann will know that there are more than a few fig­ures at the club, on the pitch and in the board­room, who have their own ideas about who stays and who plays.

It has been one hell of a week for li­ons, from the be­wil­dered look­ing beast star­ing out from Ukip’s new logo to the other more as­sertive male who had a nib­ble of Wales rugby in­ter­na­tional Scott Bald­win’s hand in South Africa. All this fol­lows hard on the heels of the rev­e­la­tion that Eniola Aluko was canned from a 102-cap Eng­land ca­reer for what her former man­ager Mark Samp­son mem­o­rably deemed “UnLioness be­hav­iour”.

A cyn­i­cal view would be that this is the kind of cultish mod­ern cor­po­rate-speak that al­lows an or­gan­i­sa­tion to make vague, wide-rang­ing crit­i­cisms of individuals whom they wish to be rid of. The Football As­so­ci­a­tion will be obliged to be a bit more pre­cise at the De­part­ment for Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport Select Com­mit­tee hear­ing into sport gov­er­nance for which the FA an­nounced its line-up last week. If the Samp­son af­fair un­rav­els fur­ther then the FA might ex­pect to come off with more than just a chunk taken out of them.

Suited and booted out: Carlo Ancelotti left Bay­ern this week

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