After becoming the first coach to win all five of Europe’s top-five leagues, Carlo Ancelotti has put his name in the history books again by reaching his fifth Champions League final.
Real’s 4-0 win over Espanyol on Saturday put him alone in managerial history in leading teams from Serie A, the Premier League, Ligue 1, the Bundesliga and La Liga to league titles.
The 62-year-old is already the first man to lead four different clubs to the Champions League semi-finals, and after a stunning extra-time comeback win over City at the Bernabeu on Wednesday, now stands alone as the only man in history to manage in five Champions League finals.
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Real Madrid’s second goal in as many minutes against Manchester City in the semi-final of the Champions League left Simon Thomas, Julian Warren and Darren Ambrose stunned in the Sky Sports News Studio!
He was victorious in his first Champions League final with a penalty shoot-out win over Juventus at Old Trafford in 2003, but two years later was beaten on spot kicks after a stunning comeback from Liverpool in Turkey. Another two years on and he got his revenge, as Milan beat the Reds 2-1 in Athens.
Despite his close and long-term relationship with the city of Milan, perhaps his best final was saved for his first spell at the Bernabeu, where he finally helped Real Madrid to ‘La Decima’, their 10th Champions League trophy, an achievement they had waited 12 years to realise.
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Eight years on from last lifting the European Cup, he will now have the chance to add a fourth winners’ medal to his collection when Real take on Liverpool in Paris later this month – with Klopp taking to the dugout in his fourth final, only one behind Ancelotti.
Real Madrid celebrated their 35th La Liga title with an open-top bus parade through the Spanish capital
It marks an impressive first season back in the Spanish capital, which had started with a certain degree of apathy towards his return.
Spanish football journalist Tom Allnutt told Sky Sports: “When he arrived, it was a fairly underwhelming appointment. He wasn’t unwelcome, no-one was annoyed about it, he is very popular in Madrid with the players, club and journalists but people were a little surprised.
Real Madrid's Rodrygo scored two late goals to stun Man City and take the semi-final to extra time
“He’s done a good job, a really good job. The main plus for him has been Vinicius Junior, his form, he’s basically been transformed from what he was under Zidane. They’ve been a lot better defensively, he’s stabilised them at the back which needed doing after they lost Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.
“More than anything it’s the normal thing with Ancelotti, he’s ridden out any storms and individual instances with players. He has that ability to make everything seem unimportant, which is a real skill and valuable for a coach of Real Madrid. It was one of Zidane’s greatest strengths, to diffuse controversy, keep the players and team away from the noise.
“In part, it’s because he’s 62 years old, and bottom line he doesn’t see it as high-pressure a job as other coaches would when they go through bad patches. He doesn’t have that sense of bitterness or pressure, he’s just really pleased and grateful to have another opportunity to manage Madrid. I think he thought Everton was going to be his level, so it’s worked well for him and for Madrid as well.”
Ancelotti’s Champions League final record
2003: AC Milan beat Juventus 3-2 on penalties – Won
2005: Liverpool beat AC Milan 3-2 on penalties – Lost
2007: AC Milan beat Liverpool 2-1 – Won
2014: Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 4-1 – Won
2022: Real Madrid v Liverpool (May 28th) – tbc
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