Hiring Ancelotti the dream for Italy but Tavecchio staying would prolong the nightmare

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The three-time Champions League winner is the ideal man for the Azzurri but he cannot cure the ills of Italian football all on his own

The Gazzetta dello Sport called Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958 "the apocalypse" and football fans across the country are certainly struggling to come to terms with the full horror of the situation.

This is something new for the majority of Italians: a World Cup without the Azzurri was unprecedented for them. It was unthinkable. Now, though, disbelief has given way to rage.

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What is most upsetting - if wholly unsurprising - is that the country's footballing catastrophe is unlikely to prompt a complete and long overdue overhaul of the entire footballing administration. 

Indeed, at a special summit of the key figures in Calcio on Thursday, president of the Italian Footballers' Association Damiano Tommasi walked out in disgust after his counterpart at the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), Carlo Tavecchio, confirmed that he would not be stepping down. No one else in the room objected to Tavecchio remaining.

Tavecchio Ventura

Tavecchio Ventura Ancelotti Cartoon

Of course, someone had to be seen to pay for a very expensive fiasco that could cost the country more than a billion euros and Gian Piero Ventura was rightly dismissed for his incompetence.  

Over the course of a dismal World Cup qualifying campaign, it became clear that the problem was not that his coaching methods were unsound, but rather there was no method at all. 

His treatment of the likes of Lorenzo Insigne left not only fans and journalists mystified, but also the players themselves. However, to make Ventura the scapegoat for all of Italy's ills would be ridiculous. 

The need for structural reform has been evident for some time now: financial mismanagement, endemic racism and territorialism, crumbling, empty stadia - the list of off-field problems goes on and on. 

On the field, the national team has been in decline for some time now. It is worth remembering that the Azzurri were knocked out at the group stage of the World Cup in both 2010 and 2014. 

There has been some continental success in recent years but the run to the final of Euro 2012 was founded upon the genius of Andrea Pirlo and Juventus' brilliant backline, while the coaching excellence of Antonio Conte carried a poor Azzurri squad to the quarter-finals in France last summer.

Indeed, Conte succeeded in spite of the federation - not because of them - and it is for this reason that Carlo Ancelotti, the No.1 candidate to take over, is still mulling over whether to replace Ventura at the helm.

As Goal has already outlined, it is not a question of money. Ancelotti's preference to return to club football - which he reaffirmed last month - is no longer an issue either. His country needs him and he is willing to answer the call. 

However, he astutely wants to both see and assess the merits of the new sporting project, which should be unveiled at a special Federal Council meeting on Monday. 

Gianluca Vialli Ancelotti PS

It is easy to see why Tavecchio is so desperate to land Ancelotti. His is the most prestigious and well-qualified of the "big names" that the FIGC president needs to land in order to save his own job. 

Indeed, Ancelotti is everything that Ventura is not. He doesn't just have the kind of international experience and reverence that the former Torino boss was so sorely lacking, he is also a proven winner, a coach who has won trophies in all of Europe's 'Big Five' leagues.

As Gianluca Vialli told the Gazzetta on Thursday, "Carlo's respected by everyone, he has balance and international experience, he’s won everywhere and he speaks the languages. I’d make him the Italian Vicente Del Bosque."

Of course, there are some doubts about Ancelotti given the shocking and swift way his last job, at Bayern Munich, was brought to an end. 

A man renowned for cultivating an excellent relationship with players completely lost the dressing room at the Allianz Arena, with serious doubts raised over the quality and intensity of his training sessions. 

Players that initially felt liberated under the easy-going, empowering Ancelotti quickly came to miss the meticulous, obsessive Pep Guardiola.

By complete contrast, though, succeeding the clueless Ventura would bring no such unfavourable comparisons. Furthermore, he is ideally suited to the task of allowing players to go and express themselves. 

Marco Verratti would not be left brutally exposed in a 4-2-4 formation, Insigne would not be left sitting on the bench and Jorginho would not be ignored completely until it was too late. 

Whether it was 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, Ancelotti would employ a system designed at getting the best of the talent at Italy's disposal.

Lorenzo Insigne Marco Verratti Italy

Paolo Maldini Italy PS

Essentially, Ancelotti would bring cohesion where there was only confusion; replace unrest with unity. 

He would have the support of the players - he has already worked with Verratti, Italy's greatest talent, at Paris Saint-Germain - the press and the people. 

He also has the backing of Tavecchio but does he really want it? Ancelotti's primary concern is, understandably, being tied to the old administration - with an emphasis on 'old' - and all of its failings. 

There have been calls for Paolo Maldini to be brought in alongside his former boss as team manager but the legendary defender certainly wouldn't want to be a part of the FIGC in its current guise. 

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Only on Wednesday, he pointed out: "We need to rebuild our foundations so we can face [the future] without fear, but I still see the same faces in Italian football from when I quit the national team 15 years ago."

Maldini and Ancelotti are close and share similar views on the game. The 49-year-old wrote the preface for Ancelotti's autobiography. One can understand, then, why Ancelotti is prepared to bide his time.
 
He knows that Italy needs and is demanding a fresh start but whether it gets one is still unclear. 

Hiring Ancelotti is the dream but Tavecchio staying would still be a nightmare.

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