Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has spoken of the affection he still holds for former club Juventus and their fans.
The Italian was in charge of Juve between 1999 and 2001 and, speaking at a Press conference ahead of Madrid’s Champions League semi-final first leg clash with the Serie A giants, the 55-year-old said it was a period that helped him in his career.
“I spent two seasons as Coach with Juve and I feel very close to a section of the fans and the club. I learned a lot during that time,” said Ancelotti.
“I did have problems with a few of the supporters but the memories of my time there are good ones and it helped me develop as a Coach.
“Juve have always been a competitive side and it’s never been an easy place to win. But we want to realise our dream after winning last season’s Champions League and we’re very close to reaching our objective.
“Juve have done well in their League in the last few years and were crowned champions last Saturday. That will have given them extra confidence.
“However, we’ll be going into the match in good shape both physically and mentally. We have some injury problems but we’re well covered with good replacements and we’ll be doing our best to get to the final.”
Ancelotti also commented on the fact that Juventus are perceived as one of the surprise packages of this season’s Champions League.
“If they are in the semi-finals it’s because they deserve to be. Only four sides are left and maybe they are a surprise, but they are still candidates to win the trophy.
“[Juventus boss] Massimiliano Allegri has put together a very balanced team and they are playing well.
“This match won’t have anything to do with previous meetings between the clubs because both are different teams with different players,” he added.