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Real Madrid duo Marcelo and Thibaut Courtois have hailed Carlo Ancelotti’s influence on the sidelines of their Champions League final clash with Liverpool, with the former saying he is “lucky” to have worked with the Italian.
Ancelotti has made a fantastic impact since returning to the club, leading to the Champions League title in 2014, winning the LaLiga by a margin of 13 points and leading Los Blancos to the showpiece event in Paris against all odds.
Madrid have become the first team to reach the competition final after losing a match in each of the last 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals, while Ancelotti was able to win the trophy for the fourth time as head coach.
That would make the Italian the most successful boss in the history of the competition, and he has won three of his previous four Champions League finals – although his one defeat came against Liverpool as Milan boss in 2005.
Speaking to Ancelotti at Madrid’s pre – match press conference in Paris, both players praised the Italian’s ability to communicate with Los Blancos’ star-studded team, with Marcelo saying he felt lucky to have worked under the 62-year-old.
“I have known him for eight years, I have been so lucky to train with him,” the Brazilian said of his head coach.
“He understands football very well and knows how to manage the locker room. It’s normal that we all want to play.
“This season we have had almost no problems, the coach leaves us alone, tells us the truth. It gives confidence to the work. ”
Madrid goalkeeper Courtois, who has yet to win European football’s biggest prize and was second to Los Blancos when he was loaned out to Atletico Madrid in 2014, reiterated the left – back’s praise of Ancelotti and credited him and his staff for fostering an excellent team. spirit at the Santiago Bernabéu.
“The good dynamics on the team are due to the coaching staff, we train very well and we know they make decisions,” he said.
“But they do very well, everyone has played. That’s why we are where we are.”
Including Marcelo, Madrid have four different players in their squad who have played 100 or more Champions League matches (Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Marcelo and David Alaba).
They could be the first team to name a starting XI in the final of the competition with four or more players with a century of Champions League appearances, after placing three in their last victory in 2018 over Jurgen Klopp’s team (Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos).
Meanwhile, Marcelo, who is out of contract at the end of this season, says any decision on whether to extend his 15-year stay in Madrid will be taken after the final.
While the 34-year-old was unwilling to give any hints as to where his future may lie, he referred to the Spanish giants as “the club of his life”, saying the team has given him “everything” in his career.
“Everyone knows my passion and my love for the club of my life, which is Madrid,” Marcelo added.
“[Former club] Fluminense was in its time, it gave me everything in the beginning. Madrid has also given me everything.
“I do not want to say what I think now. I do not want a statue, my story is made in Madrid and I will continue to do so. After the final, we will have to see what we do.”