Carlo Ancelotti reckons Real Madrid will have plenty of support on Merseyside from supporters of his former club Everton.
Ancelotti is set to score a record fifth Champions League final on Saturday when Real face Liverpool after returning to the club from Everton last year.
The 62-year-old was knocked out by the La Liga outfit in 2015 after leading them to a 10th Champions League title the previous year. Stints at Bayern Munich and Napoli followed before taking the Everton job in December 2019.
He guided the Blues to 12th place this season and 10th in his only full campaign with the club before returning to Real.
“I know the Evertonians will support us tomorrow for sure,” Ancelotti said in his pre-match press conference.
“I know there is a big rivalry on Merseyside. I have fond memories of my time at Liverpool on the blue side and I’m sure they will support me tomorrow.
“It’s a big contrast. I thought about it, how very different things were last year.
“This year seems long. I’m treating it naturally. Getting to this final is a big success for us, we know how demanding this club is – it’s all in the history of the club.
“It’s been a big achievement to come to this. We think we’ve had a really good season and we’re very close to achieving something huge this season.
“We are very calm in the camp. I am there to manage the game, with the veteran players helping the younger ones, to have a good atmosphere around the team with a lot 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 orchestrated the club’s two European victories in 2003 and 2007 as manager. This run to the final has been a rollercoaster ride after winning the La Liga title with ease.
“It’s something you dream about, but you can’t control it,” Ancelotti said. “It’s my fifth final, I have good memories of all those 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 ACMilan.
“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 anything. We had time to prepare well for that. , I think we go there in very good shape.
“We’re going to do our best, of course, but I’m not convinced that’s enough to win. It will give us a better chance if we play better. Whether that’s enough, I don’t know because there there are things you can’t control in football.
“It’s my fifth final and there’s always a similar feeling in the preparation. 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 his whistle. Then another story will be written.”