Carlo Ancelotti is enjoying a renaissance.
The Italian coach thought his days amongst the elite of the elite were over. His two most recent jobs before he returned to the Santiago Bernabeu last summer were with Napoli and Everton.
Both are historic football clubs but neither compete at the sharp end of the European game. Many viewed his appointment by Real Madrid this past close-season to be a place-holder, a safe hand designed to usher Los Blancos into a new era.
But he’s been a whole lot more than that.
Ancelotti has built a team that plays a simple, uncomplicated system with devastating skill. He’s fostered an atmosphere that’s gotten the best out of a talented group and enjoyed success both at home and in Europe.
And Liverpool will pose a real test. Many consider the Merseyside club to be the strongest team in European football right now.
“I think the final is going to start 0-0, so that’s a good starting point for us,” Ancelotti joked to SiriusXM FC’s The Football Show in reference to his team’s penchant for dramatic comebacks.
“We’re happy to be able to play the final and of course we’re going to play against a tough team, one of the best in Europe. But when you play the final of the Champions League you’re going to have to fight against one of the top teams in Europe.
“We’re excited to play this game and we’re going to prepare really well. We’re going to be 100% fit and we’re going to try to play our game. That’s the target we have.
“In this kind of game you have to play with courage and personality. We have to prepare our game in order to show our quality and Liverpool will do the same. You can’t play a game to try to avoid the quality of your opponent, you have to try your best to show your quality. And we have a lot of quality. So do Liverpool. So whoever is able to do that best is going to win.”