On FM Scout you can chat about Football Manager in real time since 2011. Here are 10 reasons to join!

Ancelotti's Real Madrid 2013-14 for FM14 (version 2)

I tried to make real-life tactic of Real Madrid in 2013/14. Carlo used 4-3-3, but I used 4-5-1 (a.k.a. 4-1-2-2-1) 'cause it's the most flexible FM 2014 formation which gives me everything I need to interpret Ancelotti's 4-3-3.

By Updated on Jul 16, 2014   154102 views   24 comments
Download Now
Downloads: 31305 / Size: 1.1 kB / Added: 2014-07-05
FM 2014 Tactics - Ancelotti's Real Madrid 2013-14 for FM14 (version 2)
Carlo Ancelotti prefers to use 4-3-3 formation, but on a pitch it isn't just like that. So I have chosen 4-5-1 aka 4-1-2-2-1, quite possibly one of the most famous formation in modern football.

I chose this formation because it gives me all what Carlo want, defensive midfielder like Alonso, two wingers that cuts inside (but can use them as he used them in defense, where they returned back). In addition, I can easily incorporate two central midfielders, in this case Modric and Di Maria / Isco.

I'll start with the mentality that in most games is Control in the beginning, I change during the game depending on the results. I was hesitant about Standard and Control, but I still think that in this case the second choice is better; dose of caution, but also plenty of attacking football.

And when selecting the fluidity I was in doubt, put the Balanced or Fluid, but also here the choice fell to number two. I expected that the players participate in the game in all aspects, so will the offensive-oriented players contribute defensively.

Player instructions
When we set special instructions for each player, then we will start from the goalkeeper. In this case most similar option is Sweeper keeper to Defend like Diego Lopez was last season; without unnecessary outbreak and stand at about 10-11 meters from the goal. Ancelotti preferred that because of high defense line, and because Ramos and Pepe often played too high and, in this case, the goalkeeper was the last player.


Ancelotti perfected roles for fullbacks only in second half of season, putting Marcelo to go more forward while Carvajal remained a little behind, or if it is left Coentrao, Carvajal to gain more freedom. So I decided to put Complete wing back on left side, while the right was full back - Support, precisely for this reason - balance.



In heart of defence are two different types of defenders. In this case, Ramos was the one who was most moved forward with the ball (Ball Playing Defender - Defend) and Pepe or Varane were slightly withdrawn behind (Central Defender - Cover) high defense line.


Ball Playing Defender - Defend

Defensive midfielder, Xabi Alonso had a special role. He was playmaker and anchor man, played defensively a lot, but it's also been one of those who start attacks - conductor. In the world of FM that role wasn't available until FM14 - Half back. When Ramos came highly with the ball (thus the whole line of defense), he withdrew and was the fifth defender and even a little behind and to allow extra option, and if the team without the ball, plays standard defensive mid who got only one job - to stop opponent.

Xabi Alonso

Duo in midfield are Luka Modric and Angel di Maria. A slightly different role was that of Argentinian in midfield. Although he is a winger by itself, he has shown how useful can be in the central mid role. His role in FM we can describe as a Central Midfielder - Attack with that is often passed through on the left (when Ronaldo cuts inside and leave space on the left side), so we could see that against Barca (two assists from the left flank). Modric is a classic playmaker (Advanced Playmaker - Support), and against stronger teams Ancelotti may assign him a more defensive role alongside Alonso (Deep-lying playmaker - Support).

Luka Modric

Angel di Maria

There is no need to describe role for Ronaldo and Bale. Simply, they are Inside forwards - attack and there's nothing to say except that they will be the ones who will break the defense line with dribbling, shots... Actually, they are in FM exactly what are they in real-life.



Benzema's role this season has brought many good things in the game of Real Madrid. The whole season he played "false nine" (F9) which allowed Ronaldo and Bale to cut inside. There's nothing more to say except that he will come for the ball deep, and of course he will assist and score.

Opposition instructions
In order to better close the center and ball flow through that part, I tried to close all offensive players. I often closed wingers tightly, but should pay attention to the opponent's fullbacks that can cause problems if they play offensively, but can also help if you use your counter-attacks. I recommend you to read some tutorial about OI so you can be prepared for this.

Other notes and tips
  • During the pre-season, I used 'Fitness' in General training with Very high intesity and 'Tactics' in Match preparation. Through the season, I changed it, so in General training it was 'Team Cohesion' and in Match preparation it was 'Att. movemant'
  • If you have a lead of two or more goals, about 60th minute, gently try to close the match with these instructions.
  • If you lead with one goal, and you think that opponent can score the equalizing goal (about 15 minutes left) also try to close the game with the instructions below and with Counter mentality.
  • If you are losing in 60th minute try to speed up the pace (Higher tempo), and if you are losing in 75th minute put all cards in attack with the instructions below.
  • If the opponent plays with two strikers, it wouldn't be good to set Tight marking on 'Always' to both strikers (Opposition ins). You must recognize which one is poacher and then put Tight marking-Always on him (his teammate in attack don't need to be closed to much).
  • This tactic has been tested in patch 14.3.1 and I can’t guarantee it is working in later patches.

Tactic in action

In attack

I used a situation from the start of the match. Our wingers aren't required to do much in defence, so our two central midfielders try to close down opponents fullbacks as best as they can (in this case Modric), and then winger come little deeper to hold mid's back. You can also see that we are very thick in the middle so the opponent don't have to much space in that coridor (opponent's attacker is alone between our two central defenders.)

On picture above you can see real role of Gil Romero (otherwise there is Alonso). He is in half-back role here. We are trying to get rid from the pressing and now Denswil gets free space, he of course takes it and pass ball to Modric who plays one-two with Isco and counter-attack is ready. In this situation half-back is our other option to play simple without giving ball to the opponents.

In attack biggest role plays Benzema (F9). In many cases he is key player which can be seen here. He comes deep to get ball, then Ronaldo becomes an attacker while Isco try to distract opponents to another side, and free space is now open to Marcelo (who is Complete wing back). Then full back is moving forward and passing the ball to Ronaldo who is in mat position.

Again we see Benzema in action. Although in this attack he is passive (didn't touch the ball), he dragged two defenders high, while Ronaldo and Bale ran into space. Isco has decided to pass to Ronaldo, but the opposition full back was faster and intercept the ball. In addition, we can see Marcelo run and he could be assisted by Isco and would, most likely, Ronaldo and Bale had a goal opportunity.

Benzema, Benzema, Benzema. I know, always Benzema, but he is key in this kind of tactic (to be precise, one of key players). We are out from opposition pressing, Modric plays ball to Benzema who pass ball from first touch to Ronaldo and he assist to Bale who scores.

Changes in version 2
  • Added in Team ins: Drill crosses, Exploit the flanks and Allow wide players to swap
  • Removed from Team ins: Push higher up
  • Changes in Player ins: DCR and DCL now have Close down more option and ST have Roam from position

Try older versions:
Version 1

Download Now
Downloads: 31305 / Size: 1.1 kB / Added: 2014-07-05
CroMadridista's avatar
About CroMadridista

Real Madrid supporter for six years. Editor in chief for Real Madrid Hrvatska (Peña Madridista “Real Madrid de Croacia”). I love tactics and from time to time writes football analysis for some sites.

Your content on FM Scout

We are always looking for quality content creators, capable of producing insightful articles. Being published here means more exposure and recognition for you.

Do YOU have what it takes?

Discussion: Ancelotti's Real Madrid 2013-14 for FM14 (version 2)

24 comments have been posted so far.

  • whambaam's avatar
    i love this taktik use it all the time on my team efb
  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    First time I see a concept tactic without being accomplished .So you obviously adore half made jobs because your logic cannot be even fullfilled even in a virtual level .So yes ,this tactic deserves the oscar of most over promated half-made job .My only weapon to this cyceon of bans is my continuously developed logic which cannot be limited by refusing to post my tactics and by banning all the comments that I make and you dont like .I will continue to post as much as I can in order to wake you up .
  • CroMadridista's avatar
    @richj24 thanks man, I'm glad you like it :)
  • richj24's avatar
    At this point, the year of FM 2014 is slowly closing down, and I can say that this is the best concept-tactic I have seen this season. There are two things that I like about this tactic.

    1) This captures the basic, and fundamental game plan of Real Madrid. Solid midfield dominance using versatile central midfielders, using Benzema to create space, which lets them take full advantage of Bale and Ronaldo's athleticism and technical prowess. The defense line shifts accordingly to continue the ball from flowing among themselves, and naturally maintaining possession.

    2) At the same time, by not choosing a drastic fludity/mentality and a specific def. line and tempo, this tactic captures the cornerstone of every great manager: Flexibility. So many FM tactics that users post are unable to capture this. They cannot escape their myopic and lazy definition of how managers choose to play the game. (i.e. Ancelotti likes the 4-4-2Diamond. Villas-Boas plays with defenders high up the pitch). This makes the said tactic way too rigid, and I am unable to respond to changing circumstances throughout the season and in matches. So far, I feel that yours and the "Brendan Rogers System" are the among the very few tactics that make a true attempt at capturing the essence of the tactical philosophy of their selected models. By studying this tactic among others I learned a lot about FM2014 and of course, football.

    For a long time I felt a certain disdain towards people coming up with short, rigid definitions of a manager's tactics. At the top level, no manager is a one trick pony, and they are all flexible to adjust to different squads and changing circumstances. They may have a certain philosophy, but the way they employ them largely depends on the team they have at their disposal and their opponents. For example the football Jose Mourinho played at Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Inter are quite different. This flexibility is absolutely necessary for a manager to be great, and Ancelotti is no different.

    For a FM player to really capture that very essence of a tactic he needs to first understand the model they are trying to replicate, and this is a hard ask. It takes the most dedicated fan to recognize the elements that really make the tactic what it is. Granted, since I am a Manchester United fan, I do not get to watch that many Real Madrid games, but I really feel that this tactic is as close to the kind of football I see in Ancelotti's Madrid. This depth of understanding can only come from true devotion to this beautiful game and the team that we love. Thank you for your hard work. Playing with your tactics and studying it really made my football viewing, both through FM and in real life, more entertaining.
  • zJordan's avatar
    If you use the LFC Marshall update you may have issues with taking advantage of James Rodriguez... He's a faster version of Isco, but not as technical... Either way neither of them will go out on loan and it's safe to say both are great players whos talents are wasted with this formation, my advise is to move them to Castilla where they will reach their potential. I think Isco is competant as a central midfielder so he could be a natural replacement for Modric... Rodriguez could serve as a rotation option for Bale or Ronaldo, so there is a place for them in Real Madrid's squad, but I only see Isco getting a decent amount of games.

    I wouldn't sell them either, if I had to sell one it would be Isco because his physicals are bad, but he is one of the most technically gifted players at Real Madrid (or even in the game, reminds me of Ronaldinho).
  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    This tactic is much better now .It seems to be realistic and precise .Tactics in football demand a lot of attention and care in the details .I will not take my comments back of course because thanks to my hard but fair comments this tactic improved dramatically .I praise all the people who helped to make this tactic better .Ancelotti as always ,failed to win the league tittle .At least ,he had good luck in C.League .In his 15 years of coaching in top level he has win just 2 league tittles .Haha ,this person now should be considered very special,I agree .After god ,carlo is the next one .He prefers to sign attacking minded players and to leave his defence uncovered .Galacticos policy above all .
  • xavilin's avatar
    this tactic may work, i do not doubt it, but there are few things i do not agree at all to be realistic:

    1-marcelo does not stay wider, he cuts inside. also, both WB look to track back instead of closing down more, as both cristiano and bale do not defend at all. tight marking and close down less should be their instructions.
    2-the stopper style CB are pepe and varane (defend in your tactic), they're not cover type. the cover role is reserved to sergio ramos, as he is the fastest among the 3 of them. i agree though ramos is the BPD and has attacking personal instructons (go forward).
    3-xabi alonso does not play as a HB at all! he plays as a DLP defend, a DM defend at most! Half Back moves through the pitch way more than alonso does, who sticks to his area without moving from there. i wouldn't give him an anchor man role though, as he has huge playmaking responsibilities. he also does not play only short passes, and looks constantly for through balls, either flat passes or long balls to the wings. the way you set his instructions, he plays more as busquets does in barça than as he actually does in madrid.
    4-luka modric does not close down more. he indeed is the first stopper in the MC line, while di maria does close down more and presses in the AMC line. but modric sits deep, almost in line with alonso when defending, though a little bit higher (achieved by his position basically, not mentallity nor instructions)
    benzema role you're right it's been kind of a false nine, although i would set him as DLF support, as he is not as roaming as the F9 role, he moves into channels more than fall to wings.
    on general instructions i agree with almost everything, except maybe for the overlap one. as i said, marcelo does cut inside and plays as a playmaker from there, so a CWB role with those instructions is the optimal. carvajal instead acts as a natural WB, attacking when able and supportive or even defensive depending on the opponent. he does overlap, so a personal instruction of get further forward is needed. also i have my doubts that real madrid presses high as you set them, i would leave all pressing instrunctions blank except maybe for the "get stuck in" one. also, i miss there the "run against defence" one.

    as i said, this may be a wonderful tactic as everything is logical and well thought, although it is not realistic in replicating ancelotti's tactics with RM.
  • Jat's avatar
    Hi CroMadrista, good photos you got there. I think the most important thing is to be flexible like Real on those pictures. The key to Ancelotti's team are balance and flexibility, which I think you got right with no specific d-line instruction. 'Drop deeper' can be used to get more counter-attacks and with some more advanced instructions on your centre halfs to get them advance more in attack and also prussure higher up the pitch if needed. Ancelotti's Real keeped much of mou's real but with more focus on controlling the game on-ball. With the possession instructions I think 'drop deeper' would be good, but you're suggestions sound logic and good. Also player instructions can have some very great affects on every tactic. If you play hoof ball for example having one-three players instructed to pass short you can keep more possession same with Mourinho and Ancelotti. Many people thinks Mourinho played direct counter attacks at Madrid which they did but often with short secure passes and then the front four played risky direct through balls in a very high tempo. Good luck your tactic again seems very good (Results speaks for themselves as always in most things in life) I think your suggestions are great and logic, the only tip I can give is the dynamic thing, football is very dynamic which makes the game very fun to watch with many ways to see it. My favourite managers are Capello and Mourinho which are often described as boring… Kind regards and good luck, Jat
  • CroMadridista's avatar
    @Jat Yesterday I watched match between Ath. Bilbao and Real Madrid (I selected that match bacause opposition isn't either strong or weak).

    So, Real' defense are at most time of the match at 22-25 meters from goal, and sometimes little higher. When Bilbao was at their half, Real Madrid was at 22 meters (approximately) and when Bilbao tried to dribble at defence, they were retrieving for about two meters.

    Now is question; if I am using 'drop deeper', how much will defense drop back? Right now, when I didn't selected either 'drop deeper' or 'push higher up', my defence were at 22-25 meters what is for me quite good?

    Opposition on the other half: and
    Opposition at their half: and
    Opposition are trying to dribble through:
  • Stam's avatar
    @Roberto.Mancini: We've talked about this before. If you're going to comment on other people's tactics, you may post your remarks in a constructive and polite manner but you should avoid insults. Before submitting a comment, please read it again and delete any offensive parts. If you can't do that, it's better not to comment.

    @CroMadridista: I appreciate your calm reactions to the criticism you received.
  • Dariio7's avatar
    I would really like to see Cro's improved tactic vs Roberto's one. The only problem is that the players change tempo from fast to slow and viceversa too fast, then they lose the ball and make a foul, and get sent off. But still great tactic. Pozdrav iz Rijeke;)
  • WistiJohnston's avatar
    I so agree with you LCF every time someone makes a tactic im thinking how long to roberto mancini flips out and insaults them because they made a tactic.
  • CroMadridista's avatar
    Thank you LFC and it's ok. I accept everyone's critism or suggestion and always try to improve myself. In second version of this tactic I could make some changes, but I have to test it now and for approximately 3-4 days I will post ver2 ;)
  • LFC's avatar
    Roberto.Mancini, please, if you do not like a tactic, either do not say anything at all, or just give a little comment on why it didn't work - please do not launch personal attacks, ie calling someone close-minded. Also, CroMadridista can make his nickname whatever he wants to, it's his choice, not yours, so please just keep that in mind.
  • guilhermebastos's avatar
    Well, I'm not an expert. But all I can say is that the tactic is good and I have good results. BBC (and Isco) are awesome! Tkx! Just let me know if you change something. :)
  • Jat's avatar
    Hi again CroMadrista! Nice you listen to others so we can have this great conversation here :). 'Much higher tempo' does not mean your players will make more risky passes that's what 'More direct passing' and 'pass into space' are for. For example when you play on 'Counter mentality' your players when the opportunities arrives, all the players gets a much more offensive mentality with much more room for risky passes and with high tempo, but when the opportunity isn't there or when losing possession all get's back to "normal". When you play on 'Control' your players focus very much on keeping control of the game with possession or off-the ball (You can do it both, Controlling a game isn't just possession based), therefore if you want to play counter attacking like Madrid did when they had the opportunity 'much higher tempo', 'pass into space' are crucial to give if you want that versatility between controlling possession and counter. Of course playing on a higher tempo needs much more concentration and effort but when you managing Real Madrid you have so good players so that isn't a problem. P.S if you are worried about losing possession and get countered on you can also use 'retain possession' to make your players hold onto ball for the sake of safety.

    Good luck and I wish you all the best! Kind regards, Jat :)
  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    You should focus more on reality instead of trying to show that you are superior .Only the fact that you make a nickname based on your country shows how close minded person you are .If you need to play safer ,you opt passing/possesion game ,you make your midfielders to pass shorter and you dont blame tempo change as you did earlier .In the beggining of the season Real was the fastest team of the planet .Later on ,tiredness from continuous matches made the team much more predictable so the tempo was alternated in many different levels .Also you must have on mind the rational team pressing by instructing your players to close down sometimes or always according to the opponent or according to the importance of the match .My mistake is that I try to help you unfortunately .When you try to make a real copy of some tactic you must "lock" all the available options in the tactics panel instead of leaving space for anarchy or lack of knowledge .Because when you dont give appropriate instructions you drive many people to think so .Sorry for helping you ,I will not do it again dear friend .I guarantee it ...
  • CroMadridista's avatar
    I think I misread the situation here about 'drop deeper'. You are right about defensive line in defend phase, but with 'Much higher tempo' I think that my players will make to much mistakes when trying to play fast and make quick transition. Ancelotti has sought to play safer (except Ronaldo and Bale, maybe Di Maria) to better control the match. I will try your suggestions and post results :)
  • Jat's avatar
    Hi CroMadrista! I think your work is quality and I respect… Undo it's good, I think you are missing some crucial things and details like Roberto.Mancini said. For example Fluid isn't Ancelotti's recipe his teams are often well balanced but with focus on keeping focus on their duties (Be more disciplined). Also like Roberto.Mancini said "drop deeper" and "much higher tempo" are much more a mirror of the Real Madrid of this season. Madrid mostly controlled the possession on-ball but retained the counter attacking work from Mourinho therefore those instructions more appropriate. The video you posted, yes they were high on-ball but that's not the whole truth... Bring in the player instructions here: "Dribble more", "Close down more" with the general "Hassle opponents" instruction would make your team be much more versatile in pressing because your centre halfs can move up the ball in attacking transition and close down higher up if needed. Be more dynamic is my view, But again good work! The results speaks for themselves, kind regards Jat :)
  • CroMadridista's avatar

    In this video (consider that this is just one game) you can see that Ramos and Pepe are very often at the middle of the pitch. You are totally wrong when you say that Ancelotti ALWAYS plays deep. They played deep in some matches like that vs Bayern, and Barcelona for example.

    Sorry you expert, I didn't noticed you :D

    btw. I am here for presenting tactic of Ancelotti and I will always stand by choice of mine, but of course I will also accept critics from other including from you ("football expert")...

    @guilhermebastos Here are some result from first season with Real Madrid while I was testing tactic...

  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    Like it or not you need to eat plenty of bread in football to critisise me and to pretend me the specialist .Learn to work hard and to apply even harder and even more .I stand firmly on what I sait because on your "work" are missing many very crucial and important parameters .Conclusion :think deeper and speak less .Work more dear friend .
  • guilhermebastos's avatar
    Good work, Man!
    I will try and say my impressions!
    Do you had good results?
    Thanks, and sorry for my bad english :(
  • CroMadridista's avatar
    Games like against Bayern aren't often (maybe against Barcelona and Atletico), and in that kind of matches he used 4-4-2 formation with two Defensive wingers (Di Maria and Bale). That must be another tactic...

    In 4-3-3 (4-5-1 in my way) he often used something between 'push higher up' and 'drop deeper' (teaser: I am now testing tactic in second season and there are some changes including that. So in new version I won't use either push higher up or drop deeper).

    I am using control before balanced so my team is cautious about opponents counter-attacks but also is very productive in attack (just like Real Madrid do).

    Drill crosses are added in new version but thanks anyway for that tip, I missed it. Now about tempo: Real Madrid last season was too slow in beginning (with Khedira in mid and with pure 4-3-3 tactic) and in second half of season he moved Di Maria to midfield and that was key. Every match Real started pretty slow and then they became faster and faster (if they need speed; depends on the result). So, I didn't select higher or slower tempo on the beginning of the match and I am changing it depending on the result.

    I watched every Real Madrid's match for last three years (of course including last one) and I am pretty sure about my view of this tactic, but of course I am open for sugestions like yours and they are welcome ;)

    btw. if I made some mistakes in writing, don't blame on me, I am Croat and don't speek English perfectly.
  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    Half job and wrong application of the tactic .Ancelotti plays always deep and brings his lines very tight .So he used ,drop deeper and run on defence .Bring in your mind the games against Bayern .His mentality is typical balanced/control ,so you dont have to make mistakes with him and his tactics .He used also drill crosses especially in the second halves of many games as well as exploit the flanks .The tempo was much higher in the beggining of the season and later became higher .I am ashamed for having to correct such serious topics which are inadequately presented .Unfortunately someone else has not shame to present a half made job .
FMS Chat

hey, just wanted to let you know that we have a fb style chat for our members. login or sign up to start chatting.