Carlo Ancelotti recently hailed Real Madrid center-back Eder Militao as one of the best defenders in the world, before bursting the Brazilian’s bubble by calling him unhandsome.
Criticizing your own player’s appearance is relatively unheard of for Football managers, and so, we’re going to take a look at 2 possible reasons for the Italian’s comment.
Militao joined Los Blancos back in 2019 from Porto for the figure of £50m.
His first season in Spain saw the 25-year-old be deployed as a right-back, before eventually moving into his preferred central role following the departures of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.
During the 2020-21 season, Militao cemented a starting spot in Real’s starting XI, and the following year, he quickly formed a solid defensive pairing with David Alaba.
The Brazilian hasn’t looked back since, as he has turned into a central cog of the Madrid side that became European Champions last season.
Known for his authoritative presence and aggressive style of defending, Militao represents a Sergio Ramos-like figure at the heart of the Merengues’ defense. And as such, the Brazilian has turned into a fan favorite at the Bernabeu.
While Madrid fans can vouch for Militao being one of the defenders across Europe, the rest of the Footballing World doesn’t appear to have taken notice.
Fortunately for the Brazilian, his gaffer is up and ready to do his bidding.
During a recent presser, Carlo Ancelotti lauded his center-back and said, ‘I’m a fairly honest guy and for me, he’s among the best in the World. He’s got it all, he’s quick, aggressive, fantastic in one-on-ones, he’s strong in the air, good with the ball.’
He followed up this healthy heaping of praise with what was a bit of a downer, ‘He’s got one problem and that’s the fact that he’s not always 100% focused, and he’s not the prettiest to look at.’
Ouch, especially on the second part.
As mentioned before, this sort of light-hearted criticism from a manager is normally unheard of, and as a result, fans online have come up with 2 possible explanations behind Ancelotti’s jab.
One of the possible reasons has all to do with Ancelotti’s well-known man-management skills.
Be it at Madrid, Milan, Chelsea, or Bayern, the 63-year-old’s player management abilities have impressed everywhere.
In fact, Ancelotti is credited more for the environment he creates for players than his tactical nous, which also happens to be sublime.
Nevertheless, this might just be an explanation for his comments, as it all could possibly be an ingenious approach from Ancelloti to address one of Militao’s flaws.
Despite all his strengths, the center-back can be prone to a loss of focus on occasions, leading to rash challenges and unmarked runners.
By stating his weakness in a public forum, the Italian placed the onus on Militao to fix up, but through the unhandsome remark, he deviated from the media’s attention and ensured that the Brazilian won’t face pressure from fans.
Having been in the game for decades, Carlo is well-versed in the ways of the media, and as such, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest that he knew which part of his comment the press would fixate upon.
Another possible explanation for it is perhaps the most obvious one, maybe Ancelotti was simply poking a bit of fun at his player.
As seen in some videos on Real Madrid’s YouTube, the center-back has expressed a bit of pride in his looks.
It’s possible that Ancelotti took note of Militao’s confidence and proceeded to call him ‘unhandsome’, just for the purpose of teasing him.
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