The turns that football and life take. September 16, 1987, Stadium of The Molinn, in gijn. The Sporting receive the Milan in the first round of the UEFA Cup. The Sacchi’s Milan, that the following two seasons consecutively won the european cup. In Asturias, the Rossoneri already gathered their historic forward, Van Basten and Gullit, and his midfield was governed by a star Carlo Ancelotti. Jaime Álvarez scored the only goal of the match and José Novoa, the local coach, decided to make several changes to balance his team. Striker Zurdi retired and the midfielder entered Marcelino Garcia Toral.
And there, face to face on the circle that divided the pitch of El Molinn in two, the two coaches who today, in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, will guide their teams in the final of the Spanish Super Cup.
That tie against Milan is one of the great memories of Marcelino’s football career. I only disputed those two continental meetings, the round trip against Sacchi’s team, who won 3-0 in the second leg played at the stadium Via del Mare from Lecce. There a connection was created between the now technical athletic club and the Italian team. “He is an admirer of that Milan.”, say those who know the Asturian best. Marcelino has seen, studied and analyzed every detail of that team, including the importance of Ancelotti, also a student of Arrigo and now a rival on the bench.
conversation and photo
For this reason, every time Spanish and Italian cross paths, be it in a coaches course, in some awards or in the minutes before a match, the star theme is that time and the peculiarities of the world of the ball. They are two “sick” types of football, although Carletto don’t hide your facet bon vivant, improved over the years.
Yesterday, before being photographed with the Spanish Super Cup trophy at the King Fahd Stadium from Riyadh, both they talked on the grass, a few meters away from the photographers and the staff of the Spanish Federation. Some confidences that denote a mutual admiration that neither hides, although there is no friendship between them. “It’s what they missing, dinner”, jokes a friend of both.
“There is a skin friendship, although we have not enjoyed it. I think he’s a great coach and playing against him is always complicated”, Ancelotti summed up in yesterday’s press conference. Their relationship began during the first stage of the transalpine in Spain, between 2013 and 2015, and has been maintained over the years during the meetings they have had. When they have crossed paths on the bench, the Italian has almost always beaten the Spanish: four wins and two draws.
The connection is not only between the two, but their coaching staff is also related, they exchange different opinions about types of training, for example, and there “affinity”they confess. Consequences of sharing the same obsession. In the white set, David Ancelotti, son and assistant coach of Carletto, lives by and for football and is his father’s right-hand man, who controls the training sessions of the Madrid squad and who reports to Carlo on the latest developments in the world of football.
Marcelino’s work without work
On Marcellin’s side, six years younger than Ancelotti, the illusion for the study of tactics and the analysis of new methods used in European football stays young. And as an example, the months before reaching the athletic club. On September 11, 2019, he was dismissed as coach of the Valencia and on January 3, 2021, more than a year later, he was announced as the new coach of the set of Saint Mams.
15 months in which he did not stop working despite being on the ‘stop’ of the benches. “Even without a team, his entire coaching staff continued to work as if he had one”count your surroundings. Analysis and study to be “up to date” when signing your next contract. That is why, among other things, Athletic chose him. He knew practically everything about the Bilbao squad even before writing his name on the contract.
That was noticed in the field. The January 17, 14 days after starting in Lezama, won the Super Cup from Spain. From there will come the two defeats in the Copa del Rey finals against Barcelona and Real Sociedad, but now, again in Saudi Arabia, the promised land for Garca Toral, he returns to a final in search of his third title after the Copa del Rey that he won with Valencia in 2019. All with a scheme 4-4-2 to which he has been faithful for almost his entire career. The same system, coincidences of life and football, used by his admired Sacchi.