Carlo Ancelotti is a man in the prime of his life. At the age of 62, the Italian manager is greatly enjoying being back at the helm of Real Madrid when he least expected. That showed in his pre-match press conference, as Real Madrid looked ahead to the Madrid derby.
Dealing with the match first of all, Ancelotti told Mundo Deportivo about the physical state of the team after another gruelling Champions League team. He did confirm one starter for the match too.
“It’s quite good, we have a few doubts, we have had two days of rest. The line-up I will think about tomorrow, I think we have to play the best team. The only certainty is that tomorrow Lunin plays, Courtois rests. Some can’t play. Alaba and Hazard won’t get there, Bale and Isco are out, Hazard will start training next week.”
Over the course of recent weeks, the subject of a guard of honour has gained a lot of traction in the Madrid media. Atletico Madrid players have come out saying that they will not be giving one, but Ancelotti seemed to have little interest in it anyway.
“The Italians aren’t used to this, everyone should do what they feel [like] and we have to respect it. It’s a neighbouring club, a friend, we respect everyone. If they do it, good, if not, that’s good too.”
There was plenty of interest in Ancelotti on a personal level in this tie, with one question asking him simply to describe himself.
“A relaxed guy, I like what I do a lot. I like enjoying life, I’m not obsessed with football. I like football, but without obsession. I have the fortune of working in a world that I like.”
The veteran was also asked if this was his best season ever in management.
“I’ve never got to this stage of the season like this. What a week we’ve had, with La Liga and putting ourselves into the final. To complete it, it would be good to win the 28th of May, we will try to do so. It would be the best season of my career.”
During the week, Ancelotti had put another incredible comeback in the Champions League down to greatness. On Saturday, he was asked what made Real Madrid different to other teams he had coached.
“The first quality I see in the group is the humility. There’s no arrogant players, no players with a lot of ego. Ego can help you to do the maximum, but it’s a humble team. None of them think they are more important than the others. Nor less important if they don’t play all the minutes. That are capable of having this attitude of humbleness every day. The weight of the shirt counts for a lot, the player with the shirt of Madrid feels something special.”
He had also revealed that he may retire after the Real Madrid job, a prospect he confirmed again.
“Yes, I don’t think there are greater clubs. Finishing your career at Madrid would be ending in the best possible way. I want to stay many years, win a lot of titles, enjoy myself, enjoy the city and the club. And then do something else: be a grandfather, husband, fan… No first a husband, then a grandfather and then a fan.”