Photo: Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid)
Ancelotti, a 54-year-old former Italian international, was released Tuesday from his contract with Paris Saint Germain and signed a three-year deal to coach the Blancos.
“Here in this temple of Real Madrid soccer, we begin a new phase with Carlo Ancelotti at the helm of the first team. A great soccer mind, a smart winner and an extraordinary person,” club president Florentino Perez, the master of ceremonies at the event, said in introducing his new manager.
Ancelotti, fresh off directing Paris Saint-Germain to the French league championship, replaces Jose Mourinho, who left Real Madrid to embark on a second stint as manager of Chelsea.
The new manager, who arrived in Madrid Wednesday morning and immediately visited the club’s training facilities in the suburb of Valdebebas, was accompanied by his top assistant coach, former Real Madrid and French national team superstar Zinedine Zidane.
“I’m very happy to be here at the world’s most prestigious club. I’m well aware of that and that’s why I’m very happy ... The goal here is clear. The world’s most prestigious club has to win and do so by playing spectacular soccer, because the club’s history and tradition is to play in an offensive-minded and spectacular” fashion, Ancelotti said in his first remarks.
“We’re going to work to play the soccer that makes the fans happy,” he added.
Ancelotti acknowledged that “the task won’t be easy” but said the facilities at Ciudad Real Madrid in Valdebebas were “fantastic” and that “everything we need is there.”
The 2012-2013 season left Real Madrid fans with a bitter taste, as the perennial powerhouse finished a distant second in La Liga, fell in the Jose Mourinho semifinals for the third consecutive year and was upset in the Copa del Rey final to humble Atletico Madrid.
After coaching at Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea and PSG, Ancelotti is familiar with the pressure that comes with being manager of a high-profile team, and Perez has long been an admirer of the Italian.
Blancos fans are hoping to see their side take back the La Liga crown from archrival FC Barcelona and garner what would be a record 10th Champions League title.
PSG on Tuesday named former French national team coach Laurent Blanc to succeed Ancelotti.