Need a comeback? Call Real Madrid. But how to inspire Real Madrid to make that comeback? Look towards the bench, find their manager Carlo Ancelotti and ask him to do just one thing: raise his eyebrow, and BAM! Los Blancos will accomplish the inevitable.
Too bad, Pep Guardiola didn’t get the memo when he visited Santiago Bernabeu last night with a one-goal lead into the second leg of the Champions League. Otherwise, he would have deployed another tactic of covering Ancelotti’s eyes.
The iconic ‘eyebrow raise’ of Ancelotti has made it to the mainstream debate with many suggesting that all of Real Madrid’s comebacks this season including against Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea, Sevilla, and now Manchester City were possible only because the Italian with his slight raise of the eyebrows instilled a sense of faith or maybe fear among his players that if they cannot win, something worse might befall them.
The 62-year-old Italian coach recently became the first manager in football history to win the title in Europe’s top five leagues. And many are certain that the unforgettable ‘eyebrow raise’ has a lot to do with it. Many also came to the fore, mentioning that tactics are secondary for Ancelotti, who can just achieve so much with his own kind of death stare at his players.
Not that any of his players fear him, but they respect him too much to let the Italian down. This was on display when until the 89th minute in the semi-final of the Champions League, Real Madrid was down by two goals on aggregate against the super team of Manchester City and then the cameras caught Ancelotti doing his thing, and the substitute Rodrygo scored two goals within two minutes and turned the tie around for the Los Blancos.
City’s manager Guardiola faced the wrath of Ancelotti’s unique action and lost a place in the Champions League final. Guardiola didn’t know what hit him. Was it some black magic tactics deployed near the end of the match by Ancelotti or was it the fans or did his team lose all steam? The Spanish coach is still coming to terms with the loss, but fans who admire Ancelotti now know the real reason for Real Madrid’s epic comeback.
How did Ancelotti come up with this act of raising his eyebrows? Or was it always there, and we missed it? Don Carlo, as the fans so pleasantly address him, has won the league and pulled Real Madrid into another Champions League final when at the start of the season, the Los Blancos weren’t even considered to make it past the knockout stages.
Next time you use the eyebrow-raised emoji on your phone, remember this season when Ancelotti embodied it and the entire squad of Real Madrid rose to give their Godfather some well-deserved presents.