The early-season dismissal of Carlo Ancelotti came as a shock to many, although problems behind the scenes have been present for a while and Uli Hoeness admitted there were five players working against the Italian coach, but just who were his five enemies? Speculation has been rife since Thursday’s official announcement came through as to the identities of the players involved and the German media made their assumptions on Friday with the five players being named:
1. Franck Ribery. Ancelotti’s rotation policy was something that led to the sporting relationship between the pair breaking beyond repair. Rather like with Robben, the Italian often left the French winger on the bench or substituted him early in matches.
2. Arjen Robben. Nobody doubts that the Dutch winger wasn’t on the same wavelength as Ancelotti. Throughout their time working together there were multiple disagreements, the most recent coming in Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain. The writing appeared on the wall for the former Chelsea coach as soon as Robben refused to answer whether the squad supported their coach, “I will not answer that question.” The former Real Madrid forward is one of the experienced figures in the dressing room and his opinion was respected amongst the Bavarian club’s hierarchy.
3. Thomas Muller. One of the biggest casualties of Ancelotti’s time in Bavaria has been Thomas Muller’s reputation as one of Europe’s truly elite forwards. He shone during Louis van Gaal’s time at the club and then further developed his own game under Pep Guardiola, yet since the arrival of the former Juventus coach, Muller has gone backwards. Game-time has been hard to come by and as such the German has not been shy in making clear his disdain for his coach, “I do not know exactly what the coach wants.”