Don Carlo Ancelotti and The Little Genius Gianfranco Zola *chef's kiss*

7 players you totally forgot ever played under Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti has got a real claim to being one of football’s greatest-ever managers. He also has a very strong claim to being the owner of the sport’s most impressive phonebook.

The Don has managed so many incredible players over the years that it’s easy to forget some of the absolute ballers Ancelotti has had at his disposal.

We’ve raked through the history book and found some players that our brains won’t allow us to believe once worked with the great Italian.

Thierry Henry

Somehow, it had never crossed out mind that, in the late 1990s, when Henry was a fresh-faced winger at Juventus, the young prodigy was being coached by Don Carlo. One of the vibiest combos imaginable. Titi & Don Carlo kicking back in Piemonte. Take us there, Doc.

Nemanja Matic

Jose Mourinho’s unofficial son overlapped with Don Carlo during the Serb’s first spell at Chelsea in 2009. Matic played three games under Ancelotti in that first season before being loaned out to Vitesse and eventually sold to Benfica as a makeweight in the David Luiz deal.

Three years later, Chelsea brought Matic back to Stamford Bridge for £21,000,000.

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Faustino Asprilla

Tino Asprilla’s time in the Premier League was brief but legendary.

The elastic-legged Colombian rocked up at St. James’ Park amidst a blizzard, adorned in a massive fur coat, and went on to become a fan favourite.

Waving his shirt around on the end of the corner flag, scoring a hat-trick against Barcelona, and generating future guest speaker anecdotes at a rate Paul Gascoigne would be proud of all added to Asprilla’s legend on Tyneside.

Where did Newcastle find this diamond in the rough? Carlo Ancelotti’s Parma. Tino was a man who needed a good man manager, and he couldn’t have hoped for much better with Don Carlo and King Kev.

Fabricio Coloccini

Oh Coloccini, you are the love of my life
Oh Coloccini, I’d let ya sh*g me wife
Oh Coloccini, I want curly hair too

— Newcastle United fans, 2008.

Coloccini was imperial at his peak. The Argentine was included in the 2011-12 Premier League PFA Team of the Year, but when he was just a young’un, Coloccini made five appearances for Carlo Ancelotti’s legendary AC Milan team.

Obviously, he struggled to break into the first team—the blokes in front of him were pretty good.

Yossi Benayoun

A pure Barclay’s cult hero and arguably Israel’s finest-ever player had a brief and fairly forgettable spell at Chelsea, which just so happened to coincide with Ancelotti’s reign.

A real blast from the past, this one. Can’t picture it.

Angel Di Maria and Carlo Ancelotti

READ: Where are they now? The 13 players Carlo Ancelotti sold during his first stint as Real Madrid boss

Gianfranco Zola

Chelsea’s little magician and scorer of one of the most aesthetically pleasing goals of all time (that front-post flick from a Graham Le Saux corner), Zola joined Ancelotti’s legendary Parma side after leaving fulfilling his role as Diego Maradona’s protege at Napoli.

The fact that Don Carlo has managed Gianfranco Zola and Arda Guler in the same lifetime is kind of a mind-blowing thought.

David Beckham

Ancelotti had Beckham twice, actually—at both AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. There is literally nobody the Don hasn’t coached.

Well, strictly not true, but Carlo’s phonebook is second to none.