"I adapt to the changes because I have a passion for this sport," the Real Madrid coach tells UEFA.com as he seeks a record fourth UEFA Champions League crown.
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As he prepares for his unprecedented fifth UEFA Champions League final as a coach, Carlo Ancelotti's place in the competition's history is already secure.
Should Real Madrid beat Liverpool in Paris, the 62-year-old will also become the first coach to win it four times, having done so with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007, and again in his first spell with his current club in 2014.
With a Spanish title already in hand, his famous man-management skills have helped to make his first season back at the Santiago Bernabéu a successful one, but another European crown would make it just that bit sweeter for the Italian, who also won the competition twice as a Milan player.
Ahead of the showpiece on 28 May, Ancelotti spoke to UEFA.com about facing Liverpool, man-management and more.
On final opponents Liverpool
In my career in the Champions League, we have faced each other many times. The first time was in 1984, the final in Rome. I didn’t play because I was injured. Then, in 2005 and 2007, [when Ancelotti was AC Milan coach] and of course, the rivalry was accentuated during the period I worked at Everton. Now, we'll face each other again. They have a great squad, they’re difficult to go up against. They play at a very high level, with great physicality, but it’s a pleasure to play against them in the final.
[In the 2005 decider,] that was the best any team I’ve coached ever played in a final. Unfortunately, in football there is that unpredictability which you can’t control. It’s difficult to explain. It’s difficult to explain how we scored twice in one minute in the 90th minute against [Manchester] City [in the semi-finals]. These things happen, and you have to accept it. You also don’t have to think about it too much. Football always offers [a chance of redemption], and that happened two years later [when AC Milan beat Liverpool in the 2007 final].
On Liverpool's supposed 'revenge' mission
Will Liverpool be out for revenge for the 2018 final loss to Madrid? Real Madrid are also looking for revenge because they lost a final against Liverpool in [the 1981 final in] Paris. I don’t think it [means much]. Two great teams will face each other, and the one with more courage and personality will win at the end.
Like I said, [Liverpool have] a lot of quality together, with high intensity and good organisation. They’re one of the best teams. [Jürgen Klopp is] a great coach. I have a good relationship with him. [He’s] A great coach who brought some new things to football with the intensity and offensive pressure [of his teams]. He’s doing a great job.
On his consistently good relationships with players
I distinguish between the player and the person. I think showing your true colours is very important when it comes to having a relationship with someone based on respect: what he does and who he is. A player is someone who has the luck to play football, and I have the luck to be a coach. Distinguish between what someone does and who they are.
On reaching his fifth UEFA Champions League final
I’ve thought about it. Yes, many years have passed since the first time. Football has changed, and I was able to adapt to those changes. From the first final in 2003 to today, there have been many changes. They have been positive changes. Football is always a very, very interesting show, and I adapt to the changes because I have a passion for this sport.
What does it feel like to win it? [It feels like] you’ve won the most important competition; you have done your job well. Is it different winning it as a coach than as a player? Well, yes. The feelings, the emotions, are different. They are stronger when you win as a manager. As a player, you are part of a group that wins the trophy, but as a manager you have more responsibilities.