• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Real Madrid vs Man City: Ancelotti admits pre-match nervousness


Ahead of the highly anticipated Uefa Champions League clash between Real Madrid and Manchester City, Carlo Ancelotti admits he is nervous.

Los Blancos, the record 14-time Uefa Champions League winners will host the reigning titleholders Man City in the first leg of their quarter-final showdown at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Tuesday night.

Tuesday’s encounter will mark the third consecutive season both clubs have crossed paths in the knockout stages of the Champions League. While Real Madrid staged a remarkable comeback victory in the 2022 semi-finals, Man City emphatically avenged that loss a year later.

It is the third season in succession the two clubs have met in the knockout stages, with Real Madrid claiming a remarkable comeback victory in the 2022 semi-finals but City avenged the loss emphatically 12 months later.

The game will be Ancelotti’s 200th as manager in a competition he has won a record four times, but he recognises it will not be straightforward.

The Italian, whose side are eight points clear at the top of La Liga, said at a press conference: “Yes, very nervous. The hours before a match are a time when you have to suffer.

“I was thinking the other day that defeat is suffering and victory is happiness, but it’s not that way. Victory is a relief.

“It’s happiness if you win trophies, but an isolated victory is a relief.

“You’re calmer and happier the days after, but suffering is part of your job. It’s what keeps you alive. It’s fuel for me.”

The 64-year-old tactician faces off against Pep Guardiola, widely regarded as the best coach of his generation, with three Champions League triumphs to his credit. However, Ancelotti remains unfazed by comparisons, focusing instead on his club’s perspective.

“Guardiola is a great coach, I don’t care much about what they think of me. I care what my club thinks. But Guardiola is a great coach, and there’s no doubt about that,” Ancelotti said.

Reflecting on last year’s encounter, where Man City rallied to a convincing 4-0 victory in the return leg, Ancelotti highlighted the need for courage and personality, qualities he believes were lacking in their performance.

He expressed confidence in his team’s abilities, stating, “I’m confident we are going to give our best. We have the quality to compete.”

Real Madrid’s squad is stronger this season with the addition of England midfielder Jude Bellingham, whose impact has been nothing short of remarkable.

Ancelotti said: “He’s having a very good season in the penalty box.

“He’s physically very strong and he’s helping us a lot in the defensive aspects and upfront, to create space and provide movement.

“He’s very mature. He’s only 20 years old but he’s very professional, very serious and humble.”