Carlo Ancelotti has spoken of the fervent support of Real Madrid in a lengthy interview with the club’s television channel.
Topics ranged from the Champions League success to team selection and injuries, as well as his impression of living in the Spanish capital.
“Real Madrid is not a football team,” Ancelotti said. “It’s a religion.
“I want to thank all of the Madrid fans who have followed us fondly. And the ones who booed us.
“October was the worst month. The games against Sevilla and Barcelona were flukes because this was a good team.
“We played a lot of games in the season, especially January. We calculated the recovery time needed for after games.
“There was a journalist who suggested the team managed itself. Journalists ask what they want but as I say, I’ve never lied.
“I was bothered by nepotism. It wasn’t serious criticism. I don’t remember who it was but I didn’t like it.”
Ancelotti’s first season at Santiago Bernabeu of course ended with success in the Champions League, a feat the Coach doesn’t want anyone to assume was straightforward.
“Winning a cup is never easy. It’s not just a technical issue and mentality, you need luck,” Ancelotti said.
“It was a positive pressure in the locker room. The atmosphere [for the Champions League] was different from other games and gave us strength and personality.
“Reaching three semi-finals but not the final also gave us motivation because three times is very difficult.
“Getting to a final is a success. Just think of Manchester City, who put in a lot of money but don’t even get a quarter-final.
“What I saw after La Decima I have never seen in Milan. It was more than a party, it was a global holiday. I thought what happened when we won the Copa del Rey was incredible.
“I never thought we’d lost the Champions League final. Time passed too quickly. But the last 30 minutes were very good.
“We weren’t happy at half-time. We were disappointed. But I was always positive.
“This cup isn’t the end of anything. It’s the beginning of a cycle with young players like Isco and Illarra.”
Ancelotti used the same interview to describe Sergio Ramos as 'the best defender in the world.'