28 May 2022 | 08:53 | Football
Carlo Ancelotti says Real Madrid are close to reaching “maximum levels” this season as they want to beat Liverpool in Saturday’s Champions League final and complete the Euro-Spanish double.
After winning La Liga last month with four games left, Madrid are now on the hunt for their fifth Champions League win in nine years in Paris.
It will be the fifth time in the club’s history that Real Madrid have won the Spanish championship and the Champions League in the same season.
Ancelotti has made history on his own as the only manager to reach a fifth Champions League final, something that seemed unlikely when he led struggling Everton in the Premier League last season.
“This year seems like a long time, it makes me dizzy just thinking about being in this final,” Ancelotti said at Friday’s press conference.
“But I keep working because it’s a success for us. We know the history of this club and it’s very important to get here, it’s been a very good season for us. .
“We are very close to reaching the maximum and we will try. This team manages these games well. The veterans help young players play in a calm atmosphere. , enthusiasm and confidence.”
Real Madrid are chasing a record 14th European Cup at the Stade de France and boast an incredible record in European finals, having won all of their last seven matches.
One of them was against Atletico Madrid in the 2014 Champions League final, when Thibaut Courtois, now Real Madrid’s goalkeeper, was on the losing side.
Courtois said: “We knew when Real Madrid played in the final they were going to beat them and now I’m on the right side of that.
Liverpool had a pretty good path through the knockout stages, as they beat Inter Milan, Benfica and then Villarreal to the final while Real Madrid had one of the toughest roads possible, as they staged an incredible comeback to beat Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City.
– ‘We deserve to be in the final’ –
Ancelotti says Real Madrid’s history has given them an advantage in moments of pressure.
“We deserved to be in the final because of the quality but talent alone is not enough,” said Ancelotti.
“You have to bring everyone’s talent together to create a cohesive and cohesive team. And then the history of this club has pushed us into difficult times. To win the game. win, we’ll have to deserve it tomorrow.”
Karim Benzema has also been a key factor in Real Madrid’s progress, with the Frenchman scoring 10 times in the knockout stages, including three against PSG, four against Chelsea and three against Man City. .
The 34-year-old has 15 goals in the entire tournament, just two short of Cristiano Ronaldo’s 17, the record for a player in a Champions League tournament.
Courtois said: “He pushed the team to victory even when we struggled. “He never stopped running. When we were being tested, when challenged, we saw what he has created this season.”
“He’s a leader in the team,” added Marcelo. “He shows it with his personality, his presence.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has previously expressed concern with the pitch for the final, saying the new surface, installed on Thursday, is “obviously not the best news for either team” .
Ancelotti downplayed the issue. “I know they’re going to change it but we haven’t trained there yet,” he said. “I don’t think it will be an issue.”