Napoli appoint Carlo Ancelotti


Napoli have chosen Carlo Ancelotti as their next coach, the president Aurelio De Laurentiis announced on Wednesday. The manager has signed a three-year, €15M contract, with the final being an optional one, and will keep some of staff in place. Ancelotti replaces Maurizio Sarri, who finished second in the past season, breaking the club’s point record.

Over his illustrious career, Ancelotti has won domestic titles with Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich and the Champions League with the Rossoneri (twice) and the Merengues. He returns to Italy after nine years abroad. His last stint in Germany ended with a quick firing in late September despite a successful first season, as he reportedly clashed with some of locker room leaders. He was approached by the Italian Federation to replace Gian Piero Ventura and at times looked close to accepting the job, but eventually decided to wait for an opportunity to coach a club.

Maurizio Sarri has not been technically sacked yet: he was mulling his future before this quick and unexpected turn of events. He has been linked to Zenit and Chelsea, but he might also take a sabbatical. Sarri had expressed doubts because few of Napoli’s top players, such as Raul Albiol, José Callejon and Dries Mertens have relatively cheap release clauses; Pepe Reina will join Milan for free in the summer, while Marek Hamsik is also considering a move elsewhere.

De Laurentiis did not wait for Sarri to make up his mind and hired Ancelotti, who undoubtedly rises the international profile of the club. The new coach is expected to be more flexible than his predecessor, who relied heavily on 4-3-3 and a very short rotation. He could also perhaps serve as a catalyst to attract some high calibre players from other leagues, something Napoli have struggled to do in the past.

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