Former Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has asked the club’s fans to cheer for his Real Madrid side as they take on Liverpool in the Champions League final on Saturday
Real face Jurgen Klopp’s Reds in an 8pm kick-off at the Stade de France for the chance to add the trophy to their La Liga triumph in what would be their 14th European crown. It would be a fitting end to Ancelotti’s first season back at the Spanish giants.
The Italian manager re-joined Real in June 2021 after resigning from his position as Everton boss. It was quite the career move, leaving the Toffees after a 10th-place finish in the Premier League to take over Los Blancos, but it has proved a successful one which has brought him yet more silverware.
Ancelotti secured La Liga at a canter ahead of rivals Barcelona and has overseen a hugely dramatic route to the Champions League final, via staggering comeback wins over Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City in the knock-out stages. The 62-year-old is aiming to win his fourth Champions League title as a manager and his second with Real, whom he claimed the famous trophy with in 2014.
And while many in England will be rooting for Liverpool, Ancelotti hopes the blue half of Merseyside will be cheering his team on. “I know the Evertonians support us tomorrow for sure,” he said in his pre-match press conference on Friday. “There is a big rivalry on Merseyside. I had a good memory of my time in Liverpool, on the Blue side, and I am sure they will support me tomorrow.”
Ancelotti managed Napoli and Bayern Munich following his axing by Real in 2015 after two years at the helm. He then joined Everton in 2019, overseeing 12th and 10th-place finishes and winning 31 of his 67 matches in charge overall.
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He left suddenly to re-join Real following Zinedine Zidane’s departure as manager in the Spanish capital and, a year on, he admits it has been quite the change of scenery. “It is a big contrast. I’ve thought about that, how things were very different last year,” Ancelotti said.
“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.”
Ancelotti is hugely experienced in the Champions League and is one of just three people, alongside Zidane (Real Madrid) and Bob Paisley (Liverpool) to have won the competition three times. As well as Real’s 2014 success, the Italian masterminded AC Milan’s two European victories in 2003 and 2007. He can move clear at the top of the list with victory over Liverpool on Saturday.