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The 10 Ballon d’Or winners who starred under Carlo Ancelotti

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Check it out here as Ace Football gives you all the current 10 Ballon d’Or winners who have played under Carlo Ancelotti.

Carlo Ancelotti has been one of the greatest and most successful coaches across the last two decades. The players that have played under him can only sing his praises. For many of them, he will always be one of a kind.

After a successful playing career, Carletto took his first role as a head coach in 1995 for Reggiana in Serie B. It only took him one season to win promotion for the Maroons. He then coached Parma and Juventus, where he won his first trophy in the 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

Five league titles across Europe and four Champions Leagues have come Ancelotti’s way as part of the 25 trophies he’s won.

And while coaching some of the best clubs around Europe, the 63-year-old has had the privilege of overseeing some of the greatest players in football history.

So here on Ace Football, we give you all the 10 Ballon d’Or winners that Ancelotti has coached at one point in his career.

Fabio Cannavaro – 1996 to 1998

Fabio Cannavaro
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Ancelotti coached Cannavaro during his spell at Parma between 1996 and 1998. He played him 74 times in defense, helping the Crusaders finish second in the 1996/97 Serie A campaign.

Cannavaro eventually became a Ballon d’Or winner in 2006 as a result of leading Italy to World Cup glory that year. He also played for Juventus and Real Madrid during his impressive career.

“What I remember the most from Ancelotti is learning zonal marking,” said Cannavaro in 2018.

“I was accustomed to only tracking the man, but with him, I learned the right movements and posture.”

Zinedine Zidane – 1999 to 2001

Zinedine Zidane
Credit: Twitter/Juventus

The former Real Madrid manager was a formidable player during his youth, winning the World Cup among many other major honors. His performances won him the Ballon d’Or in 1998.

Zidane played under Ancelotti at Juventus between February 1999 and June 2001, managing 11 goals and 17 assists in 90 matches under Carletto. Their sole piece of silverware together was the UEFA Intertoto Cup.

12 years later Zidane became Ancelotti’s assistant at Real Madrid before becoming the club’s head coach himself in January 2016.

“Zidane changed everything because I placed the team around him,” Ancelotti said on the Frenchman.

“I tailor-made the side for Zizou. He changed my style of football. I owe everything to him.”

Rivaldo – 2002 to 2003

Rivaldo Ballon d'Or
Source: Twitter

Ancelotti and Rivaldo’s relationship wasn’t pleasant, as the Brazilian was left unimpressed by his lack of opportunities at AC Milan. He proved to be more of an expensive substitute than a starter.

Despite his unfavorable circumstances, Rivaldo still made 40 appearances. The midfielder struck eight goals and six assists, helping Milan win the 2002/03 Champions League title.

The 1999 Ballon d’Or winner soon tore up his contract at the San Siro and returned to his native Brazil.

Andriy Shevchenko – 2001 to 2009 (two spells)

Andriy Shevchenko
Source: Twitter

Shevchenko became a world-class striker under Ancelotti during his time at AC Milan, scoring 103 goals in 219 under the Italian. He even chipped in a further 34 assists. This helped them win eight trophies together, including two Champions League titles and the Serie A.

The Ukrainian striker’s performances were enough to beat competition from Deco and Ronaldinho for the 2004 Ballon d’Or.

He played for Ancelotti’s Milan team between 2001 and 2009, in between an unsuccessful spell for Chelsea.

“He is a person able to take responsibilities, who talks with everyone, who listens to everyone, but at the end he decides alone,” said Shevchenko.

Ronaldo Nazario – 2007 to 2008

Ronaldo Nazario
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The two-time Ballon d’Or winner’s career suffered a series of injury blows, which prevented him from reaching his true potential. Thus, Ronaldo’s story will always be one of what might have been.

After swapping Real Madrid for AC Milan in January 2007, Ronaldo spent the following six months playing under Carlo Ancelotti at the San Siro. Statistically speaking, he did alright in Italy. The striker scored nine goals and added five assists.

Injury problems, however, limited his appearances to just 20 games.

“He was a phenomenon,” said Ancelotti on Ronaldo. “Even when he was injured or weighed 100kg, he was an absolute phenomenon.”

Ronaldinho – 2008 to 2009

Source: Twitter/Melbet Nigeria

During his two-and-a-half-year spell at AC Milan, Ronaldinho played for Ancelotti in the 2008/09 season. He provided 10 goals and six assists in 36 games across all competitions. Sadly, they won nothing back then.

Their relationship, meanwhile, became fractious. Ronaldinho’s love for partying led to his decline, which left Ancelotti understandably frustrated.

Nonetheless, the 2005 Ballon d’Or winner revealed the respect he still retains for his old coach years later.

“With [Pep] Guardiola, Carlo is one of the greatest coaches in the world,” said Ronaldinho while discussing Ancelotti in 2017.

He added: “Carlo is also number one for the ability to create a genuine, strong relationship with his players.”

Kaka – 2003 to 2009

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Ancelotti helped develop Kaka into a world-class talent during their time together at the San Siro. The Brazilian was a formidable playmaker, chipping in 94 goals and 84 assists in 270 games.

Not only did Kaka’s performances help AC Milan win the Champions League title in 2007, but they also won the Ballon d’Or that year.

“[He wasn’t] at Zinedine Zidane’s level, but almost. The second best player I’ve coached and definitely the most intelligent,” said Ancelotti.

Cristiano Ronaldo – 2013 to 2015

Cristiano Ronaldo, Ballon d'Or
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Carletto enjoyed a superb two years coaching the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. They won four trophies together at Real Madrid, including the famous ‘La Decima’ in the 2014 Champions League title.

The former AC Milan boss pushed Ronaldo out of his comfort zone by making him play as a center-forward instead of a winger at times. His new playing system, in fact, yielded some significant results and was a breath of fresh air from the Jose Mourinho era.

“He’s an unbelievable person,” said Ronaldo.

“I just wish every player could have an opportunity to work with him because he’s a fantastic guy, a fantastic coach and I miss him a lot because we won many trophies together. And I wish to work with him one day again.”

Ronaldo managed 112 goals and 46 assists in 101 games under Ancelotti.

Luka Modric – 2013 to 2015, 2021-present

Luka Modric Ballon d'Or
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Like Ronaldo, Modric enjoyed a strong spell with Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.

The Croatian midfielder managed 8 goals and 28 assists in 133 appearances under Ancelotti so far, helping Los Blancos win countless trophies – including two Champions League titles. He won the Ballon d’Or himself in 2018.

“One name is special to me, and that is Luka Modric, both a fantastic midfielder and a human,” said Ancelotti.

Karim Benzema – 2013 to 2015, 2021-present

KIEV, UKRAINE – MAY 26: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid

Like Luka Modric, Karim Benzema has won the Champions League twice with Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.

The striker has managed 95 goals and 48 assists in over 150 appearances under the Italian coach so far. His performances not only helped Ancelotti lead Real Madrid to a second European title in 2021/22, but they also earned him a first Ballon d’Or in October 2022.