He said: "Nicolas has improved a great deal since I tried to buy him.
"He was very young then, only 20 I think. Now he is playing with more personality, intensity and continuity. He is much more consistent.
"He's a fantastic striker with many great qualities. He has it all - he's a good jumper, technical quality, shoots fantastically, moves very well on the pitch and scores goals. I don't think he gets the credit he deserves. People should appreciate his work more."
But if Anelka's abilities have not come as a shock to Ancelotti, his character certainly has. He is far from the sullen and moody loner he had been warned about.
Ancelotti insisted: "I've found Nicolas to be a very professional player.
"He's a shy guy who doesn't like to speak a lot. He prefers to stay quiet in the dressing room but he always works with great professionalism."