Carlo Ancelotti might have taken over as the manager of Bayern Munich this year, but the Italian admits he could have joined Manchester United after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
However, he says that the Red Devils were too late with their offer, as Ancelotti had already agreed to take over at Real Madrid by then.
“After he retired in 2013 he spoke to me, but I had already given my word to go to Real Madrid. Manchester United were too late. But otherwise I would have been interested in going to Old Trafford,” Ancelotti said to English magazine FourFourTwo.
Instead, Manchester United went on to sign David Moyes and followed that up with former Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal, who became quite unpopular with the club’s fans during his second season at Old Trafford.
Ancelotti wants to work with Wayne Rooney
When asked to name a player he wanted to sign but couldn’t, Ancelotti proceeded to name four legends of the game. The first name that sprung to the Italian’s mind was Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard. Ancelotti confirmed he had tried to sign the ex-England international when he was a manager at AC Milan. He said, “I tried to sign Steven Gerrard from Liverpool when I was at Milan, but it just wasn’t possible.”
Ironically, it was Gerrard who went on to inspire Liverpool to a memorable comeback against Ancelotti’s Milan side in the 2005 Champions League final, at the Attaturk Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey. Milan were leading the match 3-0 at half time, but an inspired performance by Gerrard in the second half saw Liverpool score three goals in six minutes to equal the scores. They eventually went on to win the match on penalties.
The 57-year-old also admitted that he tried to sign two legends of Italian football — Roberto Baggio and Francesco Totti.
“I was close to taking Roberto Baggio to Parma, but I didn’t because he wanted to play in a different position than the one I wanted him for. Today I can say it was a mistake, but back then I didn’t want to change my system,” said Ancelotti. “Now, with more experience, I could say, ‘OK, no problem – we will try to find a position for him.’ In Italy I would also have loved to manage Francesco Totti.”
Baggio has long retired from football, while Gerrard ad Totti are nearing the end of their respective careers. However, Ancelotti named another player he would like to work with — someone who is still playing, and has a few years of football left in him. He said, “It would have been interesting to manage Wayne Rooney, too.”
It seems unlikely that Ancelotti will get to work with Rooney any time soon, as the Red Devils’ current boss Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Rooney will be his side’s captain at Old Trafford this season. The England international is 30-years-old now, and it will be interesting to see how long he can still keep performing at the top level on a consistent basis.
However, Rooney is said to be completing his UEFA coaching badges at the moment. So there is always a chance that the Englishman could spend some time as an apprentice to Ancelotti, after he retires from football.