Carlo Ancelotti explains how Serie A has changed in the nine years between leaving Milan and signing for Napoli.
Ancelotti finally returned to Italy this summer after spells at Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, and he sees a changed calcio landscape.
“For a long time Serie A was the best League in Europe,” Ancelotti explained to France Football.
“The biggest Italian industrialists invested in the clubs: [Silvio] Berlusconi, [Massimo] Moratti, other Italian captains of industry…
“They used their incredible financial strength to bring the best players in the world to Italy. It’s become more difficult, particularly after the financial crisis.
“Only Juventus have constructed a model which has given them that financial strength. It’s hard for the others to keep up. But that’s not the only reason.
“There’s also a crisis in the development of talent, there isn’t the pool of top level talent that there was before. We’re in a moment of difficulty.
“Certain players have potential, they just have to develop. In the next two or three years we’ll see more clearly.”
Ancelotti was very much the public’s favourite for the job of Italy CT…
“There’s nothing to see, I’m at a point in my career where I want to be coaching every day. For the national team you get three days with the players a month.
“It wasn’t a calculation I made with regard to the players available, certainly not.”
One of the talents in the national team is Marco Verratti, with whom Carletto worked at PSG.
“For me there’s no debate about his value,” Ancelotti said.
“He’s a great talent, without a doubt. But all alone Marco can’t do anything! Right now Italy don’t have the level to offer his talent the best conditions.
“I’m not just talking about putting him in the right place in the right system, but also the players with the necessary quality to take advantage of Marco’s know-how.
“In Paris, when he dominates a midfield, it’s because he has players around him who know his football and play in the right way.
“That’s not the case for Italy, so suddenly you get the impression that everyone has turned against him, thinking that he’s playing badly, when really it’s the opposite.
“I think Verratti is one of the best midfielders in the world, who would have an important place in any team. Above all, he has the personality.
“He never hides, he always takes his responsibilities, and that’s the mark of superior players. He has a temper – sometimes too much of one! – but that too also helps him progress.”