How Carlo Ancelotti convinced Cristiano Ronaldo to play centre-forward

Table of Contents
How Carlo Ancelotti convinced Cristiano Ronaldo to play centre-forward
Photo: AP
Carlo Ancelotti's ex-assistant coach believes moving Cristiano Ronaldo up front was both a tactical and man-management masterstroke from the Italian.

The Portuguese superstar starred in the formative years of his career at Manchester United and Real Madrid as one of football's most destructive left-wingers before later readjusting as a striker.

It was Ancelotti's idea to shift Ronaldo into a central role from a position on the flanks which required him to do more defensive work.

However, convincing the five-time Ballon d'Or winner to move from his favoured position was no easy task.

READ MORE: Ex-Man Utd assistant gives insight into Cristiano Ronaldo's controversial exit

His reluctance led Ancelotti to come up with a tactical adjustment that ensured Ronaldo was kept happy whilst agreeing to become a central attacking figure.

Speaking to Stadium Astro, Paul Clement, who assisted Ancelotti alongside Zinedine Zidane at the Spanish capital, has lifted the lid on a positional tweak.

Carlo had an idea that Cristiano would play as a striker, either with [Karim] Benzema or Benzema would come into the game.

He wanted to free him up more so he could become more of a goalscorer and have less responsibility because when you play wide you have to track back.

He started it off like that in the pre-season, I'm not sure if it actually went into the season but certainly the early part of when we were there, but he said to Carlo, "I'm not comfortable of playing in that position because my back is to goal and that's not my strength."

He said, "I prefer coming in from the left, running at defenders and shooting or providing crosses." And a great sign of Carlo's management is that he didn't say, "You're going to play as a striker and you're going to do great there." [But], "Cristiano you need to be comfortable."

So he played him on the left and then what he did was organise the team to allow Ronaldo to use his offensive skills so he wouldn't have to track back on the left side.

We played 4-3-3 and on the left side of midfield, he played Ángel Di María, who could run and run and run.

We knew that if Cristiano went forward that Ángel would have the ability to come across to provide cover and help Marcelo, who was at left-back.

We knew what he liked and what he was good at and Carlo gave him the opportunity to go and do that.

The tactical change worked wonders as Ronaldo and Ancelotti went on to win the Champions League together in 2014 along with other major collective and individual honours.

Ronaldo netted 102 goals across two seasons under the former AC Milan and Chelsea boss, including a career-high of 61 in the 2014/15 season.

Get new posts by email:

Post a Comment