Carlo Ancelotti reckons Real Madrid will have plenty of support on Merseyside from supporters of his former club Everton.
Ancelotti is set to manage in a record fifth Champions League final on Saturday when Real take on Liverpool after returning to the club from Everton last year.
The 62-year-old was axed by the La Liga side in 2015 having led them to a 10th Champions League title the previous year. Stints at Bayern Munich and Napoli followed before he took the Everton job in December 2019.
He guided the Blues to 12th that season and 10th in his only full campaign with the club before returning to Real.
“I know that the Evertonians support us tomorrow, for sure,” said Ancelotti in his pre-match press conference.
“I know there is a big rivalry on Merseyside. I have a good memory from my time spent in Liverpool on the blue side and I’m sure they will support me tomorrow.
“It is a big contrast. I’ve thought about that, how things were very different last year.
“This year feels like a long time. I’m treating it naturally. Getting to this final, it’s a big success for us, we know how demanding this club is – it’s all about the club’s history.
“It’s been a big feat to get to this point. We think we’ve had a very good season and we are very close to achieving something huge this season.
“We are very calm in the camp. I’m here to manage the game, with the veteran players helping the younger ones, to have a good atmosphere around the squad with lots of excitement and confidence.”
‘We are in very good shape’
A two-time European Cup winner with AC Milan during his playing career, Ancelotti also masterminded the club’s two European victories in 2003 and 2007 as manager. This run to the final has been a rollercoaster ride having wrapped up the La Liga title with ease.
“This is something you dream about, but you can’t control it,” said Ancelotti. “It’s my fifth final, I have good memories of all of these finals. It’s a bit strange to think about it but I think the best [performance] was the final against Liverpool in 2005. But we lost it [on penalties having led 3-0] at AC Milan.
“I’m not going to tell the players to play badly tomorrow because of course we want to give our best but anything can happen in a final. We have to be ready for everything. We’ve had time to prepare well for it, I think we head into it in very good shape.
“We’re going to give our best, of course, but I’m not convinced that is enough to win it. That will give us a better chance if we play better. As for whether that’s enough, I don’t know because there are things you can’t control in football.
“It’s my fifth final and there’s always a similar feeling in the build-up. It’s always fantastic to be involved and you have to enjoy it without thinking too much about what might happen. We have to enjoy it until the referee blows the whistle. Then it will be another story that will be written.”
Source : Sky Sports