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Carlo Ancelotti rewrites Champions League history books with Real Madrid

Never, ever rule out a comeback in Europe’s premier competition for Los Blancos, and this latest one has pushed their current manager into legendary status.

MADRID, 04/05/2022.- El entrenador del Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti, celebra la victoria ante el Manchester City al término del partido de semifinales de la Liga de Campeones disputado este miércoles en el estadio Santiago Bernabéu, en Madrid. EFE/Sergio Pérez
Sergio PérezEFE

No manager has ever been in charge of a team in five Champions League finals. Wait a minute...scratch that! I started to write that in the 89th minute of the semi-final second leg between Real Madrid and Manchester City (the latter side two goals to the good). How silly of me to forget what Los Blancos can do in the competition that they regard as theirs, having already won it a record 13 times. Well, after Rodrygo’s 84-second brace, and then what followed, another record has already been secured, as Carlo Ancelotti will be the first coach to oversee a team in five UCL finals.

Champions League finals and Carlo Ancelotti

Ancelotti, who returned to Madrid for a second spell in charge at the end of last season, became the first coach to win all of Europe’s top five leagues when Los Blancos wrapped up their 35th LaLiga title on Saturday. But it appeared a shot at a double would be evading Madrid when Riyad Mahrez struck in the 73rd minute at the Santiago Bernabeu to put City 1-0 up on Wednesday and 5-3 up in the tie. However, those two goals from Rodrygo restored parity on aggregate to force extra-time and then up stepped Karim Benzema to score from the penalty spot and complete one of the most outrageous comebacks in the competition’s history.

Indeed, Madrid were responsible for another one of those in the last 16, against Paris Saint-Germain, and they also fought back from the brink against Chelsea. Liverpool are up next. That meeting with the Reds in Paris will be Ancelotti’s history-making fifth Champions League final.

With the help of Stats Perform we look at how the other four played out for him.

2003 - Juventus 0-0 Milan (AET, 2-3 on penalties)

Ancelotti first reached the final of UEFA’s elite club competition as a manager 19 years ago, when his Milan team took on fellow Italian giants Juventus at Old Trafford. An infamously dull affair, it ended as a goalless draw after 120 minutes, resulting in a penalty shoot-out. Andriy Shevchenko scored the winning spot-kick.

2005 - Milan 3-3 Liverpool (AET, 2-3 on penalties)

Milan and Ancelotti reached the final again two years later, and it proved a famous night in Istanbul. Milan led through Paolo Maldini and Hernan Crespo’s brace, but Liverpool astonishingly hit back in the second half and then went on to triumph 3-2 in the shoot-out, with Jerzy Dudek – who made an outstanding stop in extra-time – the Reds’ hero.

2007 - Milan 2-1 Liverpool

The Rossoneri were back and out for revenge in 2007, and they got it in Athens. Filippo Inzaghi put Milan 2-0 up, with Durk Kuyt’s late effort not enough to inspire another comeback.

2014 - Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid (AET)

Perhaps Ancelotti’s most famous Champions League triumph to date came in 2014 when, in his first spell at Madrid, he led the club to ‘La Decima’. They were trailing 1-0 to rivals Atletico Madrid until the 93rd minute, when Sergio Ramos struck. Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo wrapped up a runaway victory in extra-time.


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