BARCELONA – Ronald Koeman and Carlo Ancelotti will meet again on a bench 18 years after the last time they met. The Dutchman was leading Ajax and the Italian at Milan at that time and it was in the group stage of the Champions League in the 2003-04 season. 1-0 at the San Siro and 0-1 at the Amsterdam Arena were the results that ended with Ajax eliminated and Milan classified.
The previous season (2002-03) they had met for the first time in the quarterfinals of the same tournament. Equalized without goals in Amsterdam, a goal by Jon Dahl Tomasson in added time at San Siro gave the victory (3-2) and the pass to the semifinals to the Italian team, who would end up conquering the title in Manchester.
They never met again as coaches, although their careers have the common nexus of Everton, whose bench was occupied by Koeman for 58 games between June 2016 and October 2017 and was Ancelotti’s throughout 67 between December 2019 and June. 2021, when he left it to return to Real Madrid, which he had previously managed between 2013 and 2015.
If as footballers they never met face to face, Koeman did face Real Madrid as a Barça and PSV player, while Ancelotti did not play against Barça. He was part of the Milan squad when he played the 1989 European Super Cup against the Barça team (Ronald was already at Barcelona) but an injury kept him from the two clashes.
Koeman, for his part, as a Barça footballer, played 14 Clásicos, of which he won nine, tied three and lost six, scoring five goals. He also took part in the first leg of the semifinals of the old European Cup in the 1987-88 season, as a PSV player and starting a 1-1 at the Bernabéu, not playing the second leg due to injury in a match that earned him Eindhoven’s team made it to the final, which would later beat Benfica on penalties.
FACE AND CROSS
Their statistics as coaches against the rival team show found numbers. At the helm of Barça Koeman lost both matches last season (1-3 at Camp Nou and 2-1 at Alfredo Di Stéfano stadium) although in March 2008, during his short spell at Valencia he won 2- 3 at the Bernabéu.
Ancelotti, for his part, has 11 games as a coach against Barça. Leading Real Madrid, between 2013 and 2015, he had two victories and three defeats, having played another six games previously without much luck.
At the helm of Milan he won and lost (1-0 and 2-1) in the group stage of the Champions of the 2004-05 season and was eliminated in the semifinals of the following season, defeated 0-1 at San Siro and drawing goalless at the Camp Nou. As PSG coach, in the 2012-13 season, he was eliminated in the quarterfinals after drawing (2-2) in Paris and 1-1 in Barcelona.
In the history of those games, as for the Classics, the 3-4 victory of Barça at Bermabéu in March 2014 … And the triumph of Real Madrid in the final of the Copa del Rey that same year, with the unforgettable decisive goal by Gareth Bale at Mestalla (1-2) over Barcelona from Tata Martino.