Clarence Seedorf, Midfielder, one of the most decorated Dutch players ever, and has won domestic and continental titles while playing for clubs in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Brazil. He is considered one of the most successful players in UEFA Champions League history, as he is the first, and currently the only, player to have won the Champions League with three different clubs – once with Ajax, in 1995, once with Real Madrid, in 1998 and twice with Milan, in 2003 and 2007.
Clarence Seedorf and Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid Leyendas smile during the Corazon Classic charity match between Real Madrid Leyendas and Liverpool Legends at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on June 14, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.
In the gym was Clarence Seedorf, arms still bulging, abs still firm, and yet old enough to be the father of the kids around him. Just off Rio de Janeiro, his favourite city, the 37-year-old would teach the things he learned over the course of his 22-year career. He’d ask them questions. He encouraged them to think for themselves. It was a two-way conversation off the field; orders and lectures saved for the field. They’d talk about positioning, footwork, little details, shaping the body to receive the ball, opening up, preparing for it, moving this way instead of that.
On the margins of a blank piece of paper, he would scribble in his starters. He would fill the rest of the page with points about the defence and attack: to maintain possession, to play two-touch football, to bide your time. And he would make copies and hand them out to his players before matches.
Carlo Ancelotti writes all of his notes by hand. He writes in ink. He always wanted to make that human connection. “You can’t write a love letter on a computer,” he writes in his book, The Beautiful Games of an Ordinary Genius. You could say Ancelotti is a bit of a romantic.
Communication is the most important thing. He wants everyone’s opinions. If one of his players is upset, Ancelotti hears them out. He prefers talking to his team instead of shouting; listening instead of ignoring, even when he knows he is right.
“For me,” says the 54-year-old, coach of Real Madrid, “it’s managing people. Managing Ronaldo is the same for me as managing Carvajal or Morata.”