Sacchi urges Pioli to keep Milan’s ‘style’ and recalls Ancelotti-Berlusconi anecdote

By Oliver Fisher -

Arrigo Sacchi has urged AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli not to abandon his principles and to continue giving his side the right ‘style’.

Sacchi was interviewed by La Gazzetta dello Sport about the work done by Stefano Pioli and the growth of Milan, of which the coach is one of the main architects, with his comments relayed by our colleagues at

“Stefano is on the right path. He has to forget about tactics. He must give Milan a style, a recognisable one,” he said.

Sacchi also gave an anecdote involving Ballon d’Or winning midfielder Ruud Gullit, who once quizzed him while they were together at Milan about why a more direct style was not tried.

“Once Gullit said to me: ‘Mister, but if we can’t score, why don’t we put high balls into the box like everyone else in the last ten minutes?’. I replied: ‘Because if by chance we score a goal then we won’t play like that for just ten minutes’.”

Sacchi also gave some interesting background on the negotiations that brought Carlo Ancelotti north from Roma in the summer of 1987.

Ancelotti was a key part of the squad that won the Serie A title in 1988, consecutive European Cups in 1989 and 1990, two European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and a Supercoppa Italiana under Sacchi, and would of course become a legend as a manager too.

“Carlo is an extraordinary person and I have always looked to the person. I told Berlusconi: ‘If you get him for me we will win the league’. He was perplexed, Ancelotti had very serious problems with his knees.

“Galliani was my accomplice, one night he phoned me and said: ‘It’s all done with Roma, but now convince the president’. I knew that Berlusconi wasn’t sleeping and I called him at half past one in the morning. I convinced him.”

Tags AC Milan Arrigo Sacchi Carlo Ancelotti Stefano Pioli
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