Ancelotti recalled the first time that, from afar, he began feeling drawn to Britain. What awakened him was not a pop group — though he loves his music — a film or a work of literature.
“There was one football player,” the Italian told the Sunday Times. “George Best.”
Ancelotti was eight when Best won the European Cup and 14 when Best quit top-level football. His rural village near Parma was a world away yet Best became an inspiration.
“His story, his life — it interested me,” Ancelotti said. “One time somebody asked, ‘Where did the money go?’ and he said, ‘50% on cars, girls, drinks ... the rest I wasted’ [Best actually said 90%]. In Italy there was another player, Gigi Meroni. He was a very talented player, at Torino. He died in a car crash [Meroni was run over when crossing a street in Turin]. He played like Best, with great joy.”