Carlo Ancelotti's respect and admiration for Liverpool's Steven Gerrard is so great that the Chelsea coach is adamant that he wants to manage him one day.
Gerrard was the catalyst for Liverpool's comeback from 3-0 down against Ancelotti's AC Milan side in the 2005 Champions league final in Istanbul. The Reds won on penalties but Ancelotti gained revenge in Athens in the 2007 final by beating Liverpool 2-1.
When asked why he would like to manage Gerrard, Ancelotti replied: "Because he's one of the best players in the world. If you can manage the best players, it's easier to win."
Ancelotti takes his table-topping Chelsea side to Anfield on Sunday looking for a victory that will help maintain their five-point lead at the summit of the Barclays Premier League. Chelsea travel to Merseyside with Liverpool in the midst of a mini-revival after a poor start to the season and Ancelotti knows a revitalised Gerrard will only help to inspire them.
Roy Hodgson's side have won their last three games and Gerrard's hat-trick in the win over Napoli in the Europa League on Thursday night was another example of just why Ancelotti wants to work with him in the future.
The Italian continued: "I don't know him as a person. I think he's a good man. But the reason I would like to manage him is because I've managed a lot of fantastic players, and he's one of the best players.
"He plays in a very dangerous position for us, a little bit behind Fernando Torres. We have to control that position during the game because he'll be able to give passes to Torres for the final pass, and will also be dangerous shooting from distance.
"It will be important for us not to give him the chances to play with that space. It's not just important that John Obi Mikel has good control of that position, but also the other midfielders have to support him and control Gerrard.
"I think Gerrard knows very well the tradition and history of the club. He's happy to wear the shirt. The shirt is 'inside' him. For this reason, it's important for the other players to have a team-mate who is a 'Liverpool player'.
When quizzed over where he would like to manage him - at Liverpool, Chelsea or England - Ancelotti replied: "I don't know."
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