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Ancelotti hails career-best season, will start Champions League final line-up in Super Cup
Ancelotti
Ancelotti hails career-best season

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti thinks last season was the best of his illustrious career, after celebrating success in LaLiga and the Champions League.

Ancelotti was appointed as successor to Zinedine Zidane in June 2021 in something of a surprise move.

The Italian had seemed satisfied with life at Everton, though he had only managed to lead the Premier League club to 12th and 10th-placed finishes in his 18 months at Goodison Park.

Ancelotti was a popular figure with fans and players alike during his initial spell at Santiago Bernabeu, taking Madrid to ‘La Decima’ – their tenth Champions League title – in 2014, but he was dismissed in 2015, with Los Blancos having finished second in LaLiga and exiting the Champions League in the semi-finals.

Having triumphed in every other major European league, LaLiga success had evaded Ancelotti until his return to Madrid, who cruised to the title in Spain’s top flight last season.

European glory then came in the form of a 1-0 win over Liverpool at the Stade de France at the end of May, making Ancelotti the first coach in history to win the Champions League four times (twice with Milan, twice with Madrid).

Ahead of the Super Cup against Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt in Helsinki, Ancelotti reflected on last season as his best as a coach.

“I think so, it was the best I had in my career. I was never able to win the league and Champions League [double],” he told a news conference.

“My players were able to reach this through a fantastic combination – spirit, attitude, quality, experience and enthusiasm of the youngsters.

“For all these reasons we were able to beat strong teams.”

Asked what Madrid’s goals are heading into this season, Ancelotti replied: “We’re going to battle on all fronts in every competition, I have no doubts about that.

“I am confident in all of the players here, considering last year, I think the squad has improved further.”

Madrid have brought in Antonio Rudiger from Chelsea and Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco, but neither of their new signings will start on Wednesday against Frankfurt, with Ancelotti revealing the same team that lined up against Liverpool in Paris will take to the field.

“We are here down to the hard work of the players who won the Champions League,” said Ancelotti, who was joined in his news conference by Luka Modric and Karim Benzema.

“We didn’t just win with 11 players who are going to start tomorrow, of course there are others who deserve to play, but we can only start 11, and I’m going to play the team that started in Paris.”

With a smile and trademark lift of an eyebrow, he quipped: “I think the two players who are next to me are going to start, if they want to!”

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