Soccer

Real Madrid present Ancelotti as a 'sage' of footy

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MADRID (AP)

New coach Carlo Ancelotti was presented as ''a true sage'' of football by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez on Wednesday.

Ancelotti was introduced to Madrid members and the press at the Santiago Bernabeu by Perez in a step aimed at healing the rifts caused by predecessor Jose Mourinho.

Speaking in Spanish, the 54-year-old Italian said he was ''happy to be at the most prestigious club in the world.''

Ancelotti's first move with his three-year contract was to confirm former galactico Zinedine Zidane would be joining his coaching staff alongside his usual assistant, Paul Clement.

''He has experience and he will be a very good assistant,'' Ancelotti said of Zidane.

''He will be beside me on the bench, the only problem is he won't be able to play,'' he said, raising a laugh from the audience.

''We have been to the training ground, it's fantastic. Everything that we need is there. I think this is going to be a very good project. I have the support of the club, the president and the fans, so I think this will be a very happy season for Real Madrid.''

Perez said Madrid was beginning ''a new phase'' under Ancelotti.

''Ancelotti has experienced the highest amounts of pressure in the most intense dressing rooms in the world, but he should know that nothing he has experienced will be similar to what awaits him at this club,'' Perez said.

Ancelotti said the first he heard that he would be confirmed as Madrid coach was on Monday, and that he had as yet not had time to discuss any squad details with the club or its players.

''My opinion of Cristiano Ronaldo is easy,'' he said. ''He's a magnificent player, it'll be an honor to coach him, like it was to coach Zinedine Zidane,'' Ancelotti said. He last coached Zidane at Juventus.

He said he could not confirm if Spain Under-21 midfielder Francisco ''Isco'' Alarcon would be joining Madrid from Malaga. He also said he had not had time to talk to Madrid's current squad and could not anticipate which players would want to stay.

Ancelotti said he knew Brazil midfielder Kaka well: ''I look forward to seeing him train and then later decide on him.''

Ancelotti said he looked forward to tackling Madrid's abiding ambition; to win a 10th Champions League crown. He himself had won two Champions Leagues as a player and two more as a coach of AC Milan.

''I have the ambition and the responsibility for this,'' he said, calling it a great objective. ''To win the 10th is such a great motivation that it may help me.''

The Italian said he was aware of the rifts that developed in the dressing room under Jose Mourinho, but denied having arrived at Madrid as a peacemaker after a turbulent three years.

''I've never been called a peacemaker before, I'm a coach, and I've had good relations with players always, but I don't think Madrid needs a peacemaker, although it is a good word to use,'' he said.

Ancelotti said he anticipated that his new squad would have ''good control, a good idea of how best to attack. To play offensively you need to have quality, but this club has good qualities. I don't think it will be difficult to form a team with good offensive qualities.

''I love football, and because of that, Real Madrid is a dream come true for me.''

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