Last night, Carlo Ancelotti sat down with Rhiannon Jones of Real Madrid Television to talk about a number of topics, ranging from players, to the CL final, to Madrid's role worldwide, to even his singing career once he's done as a manager.
On La Decima, Carlo didn't seem fazed by the big occasion and neither did his players (one gaffe aside in the first half). In a season where we saw this team struggle greatly in league games, they seem to have developed a mentality of being cup specialists, maybe not having the strongest willpower in the league but always stepping up when elimination was on the line.
I always believed Real Madrid had the quality to win it and I have always had supreme confidence. In every Champions League match I saw a different atmosphere in the dressing room because it was a huge source of motivation. Everybody was talking about the Decima and that gave us the strength and confidence to play those games with courage and personality. The pressure to win the Decima was positive pressure. At half-time I was not happy, Were disappointed I tried to talk about the comeback we did at the Calderón, always positive.
Ramos' goal and extra time were also discussed. Carlo also went on to expand on Sergio's season and heaped praise on the defender, something which is a long cry from when Carlo publicly chastised Ramos for his early season struggles with discipline and poor form.
I never thought that the final was lost. I am very optimistic. The time elapsed too quickly but the team was doing very well. We scored two minutes from the whistle but we had chances before that to equalize. I didn't celebrate Ramos' goal much because I was already thinking about how to set up the team in extra time. When Marcelo scored [Real's third ] I knew the game was over, that we were Champions of Europe. The Decima was home. After the winter break he was a different player and decisive in our title wins. He has everything that Paolo Maldini had; personality, technical quality, the ability to be a leader on and off the field. I have never compared anyone to Maldini. Right now Sergio is the best defender in the world.
Naturally, the two big names on the wings came up in the conversation. On Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlo was effusive in his words towards a man who can now begin to be counted as a club legend.
Cristiano's statistics are not complicated: a goal every game. If Cristiano plays, the game starts at 1-0. I was very surprised that he is very responsible, a leader within the group. He is not just a player who scores important goals. The understanding he sought to build up with Benzema and Bale was also essential. He had an amazing season, scoring goals and providing assists.
With regards to Gareth Bale, Carlo acknowledged that the start to his career with the club was less than ideal, but was impressed with his hard work and sheer talent.
There are players who after arriving from England have encountered problems; this is not the base with Bale. He didn't start well because he did not have a pre-season, but afterwards he did very well. He worked hard and scored goals in the two finals. I don't know what will happen when he has a full pre-season... when he scored against Barcelona [in the Copa del Rey final] it looked like he had a motorbike. He has amazing physical qualities and extraordinary talent. He tries things at a speed that nobody else can.
On the future and what this win means, Carlo feels that it can be the base for a successful run of the course of a few years, led by youngsters who got valuable playing time this season.
This title will drive us to be better next year. Previous years will also serve as motivation to the team because of the negative experience they went through. It is not easy to reach three consecutive semifinals and not play in the final. This Champions League win is not the end of a cycle, but the beginning of one. We have a very young team that is full of talent. We have players who will improve next season such as those that arrived last summer, Illarramendi, Isco..."
Speaking of Illarra, the topic of the perfect player was brought up and here is how Carlo responded. Will the young man be replaced after one season? I wouldn't count on it if we are to believe what Carlo said and I think he's somewhat right, the kid should be getting more minutes next season in order to develop him while keeping Xabi fresh.
The perfect player? It's hard to say it because it is not easy, But I can look at Xabi Alonso and Illarra.
On transfers, Carlo didn't delve deep into the club's plans but he did offer a hint that at least someone will be coming and going. We can safely say that Alvaro Morata will be loaned out, Casemiro as well, but someone will have to come in and provide depth at striker and possibly on the wing until Jese returns. As it has been reported that Carlo is looking around at midfielder, we could be seeing a scenario where the club signs someone like ADM and Isco, capable of playing on the wings but also dropping back into a more defensive role.
We don't need a lot of things in the summer, the base is very strong, just a few changes.
Finally, the celebrations were discussed with Carlo being in awe of the party thrown after the final whistle was blown.
I had never witnessed what I saw after the victory. When I won the Champions League with Milan there was a great party in the city. This was a global party for Real Madrid; I had never seen anything similar for a win. We gave a lot of joy to Madridistas. It was crazy. Real Madrid is not just a football team; it is becoming a global religion. I have seen many videos made by fans and it is genuinely incredible. I am very grateful for the support of the fans. I said to José Angel that if we won the Champions League I would sing in the Bernabéu. In any case, the song for the Decima is spectacular. We have to win an 11th Champions League because I want to sing it again. I hope we will all be singing after the Supercup.