UEFA Champions League Final - Manager Focus – Carlo Ancelotti


Carlo Ancelotti is preparing for an unprecedented fifth UEFA Champions League final as a manager when his Real Madrid side take on Liverpool at the Stade de France.

The Italian ended Real Madrid’s 12-year wait for La Decima and should Real Madrid triumph over Liverpool in Paris, he would become the first manager in history to win the competition four times.

Carlo Ancelotti started his managerial career at Reggiana, moving on to Parma, Juventus, Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Napoli, and Everton.

He has won domestic titles in Italy, England, France, Spain, and Germany, becoming the first manager to have won league titles in Europe's top five leagues, after storming to the 2021/22 La Liga title in his second managerial spell at Real Madrid - a strong statement after a stable, albeit relatively low-key spell with the Toffees. 

His earliest successes in the UEFA Champions League came with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007, and once again in his first spell at Madrid back in 2014. The last time he came up against the Red half of Merseyside however, we witnessed one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history.

Paulo Maldini’s first-minute strike and Hernan Crespo’s brace saw the Serie A giants race into a 3-0 half-time lead, only for Liverpool to stage a miraculous second-half comeback through Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso goals.

Liverpool eventually emerged victorious in a 3-2 penalty shootout victory. Carlo Ancelotti will be well aware of the Reds’ recent set-up from his time managing the Toffees, where he led Everton to a rare Anfield victory back in February 21’.

His Real Madrid side have eliminated Premier League sides Chelsea (quarter-final) and Man City (semi-final) from this season’s competition. Only Los Blancos themselves have ever eliminated three clubs from the same nation in the knockout rounds of a single Champions League campaign (vs German clubs in 2013/14).

Ancelotti said Real Madrid's history has given them an edge during pressure moments, in a Champions League campaign that has consistently required incredible turnarounds.

"We deserved to reach the final because of quality but also talent is not enough," said Ancelotti.

"You have to bring everyone's talent together to make a team that is together and committed. And then as well the history of this club has pushed us in difficult moments."

"This year feels like a long time, it gives me vertigo thinking about being in this final," said Ancelotti in a press conference on Friday.

"But I take it in my stride because it's a success for us. We know the history of this club and to get here is very important, it has been a very good season for us.

"We are very close to achieving the maximum and we will try. This team manages these types of games well. The veterans help the youngsters to play in an atmosphere of calm, enthusiasm and confidence."