One of them is a leader full of emotions, who beats his chest, waves his arms and whose energetic style of the team is in his image.
The other is unflappable, unflappable, so nonchalant he seems almost indifferent, conveying calm all around him with his go-it-all-do-it-all approach.
In some ways, Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti are polar opposites as football managers. What unites them is their ability to use their own inimitable style to win the game’s greatest trophies.
This is another reason why Saturday’s Champions League final between Klopp’s Liverpool and Ancelotti’s Real Madrid is so intriguing. Simply put, no club would want to be trailed in the greatest game in club football by anyone else.
Klopp was apparently made to be Liverpool manager. He is the modern-day Bill Shankly, the club’s legendary manager and man of the people of the 1960s and early 1970s who put the Reds on the path to becoming a giant of Europe.
Liverpool love Klopp and Klopp loves Liverpool, so much so that he recently signed a new contract keeping him at Anfield until 2026 which would take him beyond a decade at the club. No coach has been at Liverpool that long… Shankly.
Klopp is not ‘Normal One’ – the tag he gave himself when introduced as Liverpool manager in October 2015 in reference to Jose Mourinho’s self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ description. He won the Champions League in 2019, the English Premier League in 2020 to end Liverpool’s 30-year wait for the trophy that belonged to Anfield, and has just led what could be the biggest season of his story.
League Cup winner, FA Cup winner, Premier League runner-up – by one point – after losing just two games, and potential Champions League winner. No previous English side have ever come so close to a quadruple.
Klopp’s look has changed – he no longer wears glasses after eye surgery in the summer of 2021 and he had his teeth whitened at the end of 2017 – but his passion for the heart on the sleeve and his fierce determination remain from his early days. in the management. Fans of Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, the teams he coached in Germany, can attest to that.
After each victory, Klopp wanders onto the pitch, heading towards the Liverpool supporters and delivering a now-iconic barrage of punches that are met with guttural roars from the stands in response.
It’s something Ancelotti would never do.
Nothing sums up the 62-year-old Italian better than his reaction to a decisive extra-time goal when Everton, the Merseyside blue-half side Ancelotti managed last season, beat Tottenham 5-4 in the FA Cup in February 2021.
As Everton fans, players and coaching staff lost their minds in rocking Goodison Park, Ancelotti simply blew on his teacup and turned to return to his seat in the dugout.
“Football is the most important thing among the least important things in the world,” Ancelotti once said, and he certainly exudes the carefree aura of someone determined not to be weighed down by the pressure of a manager. high-end football.
It’s this elite – his previous clubs include Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, as well as a first stint at Madrid – that he could become the first manager to win four times the European Cup, after 2003, ’07 (Milan) and ’14 (Madrid). He is three with Bob Paisley (all with Liverpool) and Zinedine Zidane (all with Madrid).
Ancelotti has reestablished his reputation as one of the best managers in the world this season, becoming the first to win titles in Europe’s five major leagues while guiding Madrid past a trio of heavyweights at PSG, Chelsea and then Manchester City in of the knockout of the Champions League. stages to reach the final.
It’s all done, it seems, with a shrug and lots of vibration. He has mastered the art of creating the perfect environment for superstars to shine, without ever being dogmatic about football principles or a certain style of play.
Ancelotti goes with the flow, adapts to the circumstances. Cristiano Ronaldo said of the Italian when they were both at Madrid: “From the first time I met him, he put me at ease.”
Klopp, in his own way, is the same. He has become more of a strategist in recent years, limiting his famous “heavy metal football” by adding an element of control to Liverpool’s game.
Deep down, Klopp and Ancelotti are compassionate people, ‘people’ and absolute winners.
And that’s why they’re in the Champions League final again, Ancelotti for a record fifth time and Klopp for the fourth time in nine years.
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