Champions League: Ancelotti and Liverpool: 40 years, four finals and a call from Anfield | Sports| The USA Print

Carlo Ancelotti, this Monday at Anfield.

Carlo Ancelotti, this Monday at Anfield.PETER POWELL (EFE)

The day before the final that Milan played against Liverpool in 2007, Carlo Ancelotti, then coach rossonero, the club’s CEO, Adriano Galliani, approached him on the pitch and suggested that he not start Pippo Inzaghi. The striker’s training was being a disaster and in the entire course he barely added nine goals. He released as an alternative Alberto Gilardino, who had 16 and had scored in the semifinals with United coming off the bench. “Inzaghi is a strange animal, tomorrow could be his night,” Carletto replied, according to the story that Galliani himself made in the book calm leadershipfrom the Italian preparer.

No sooner said than done. A double of his crowned the Milan fans (2-1) and, no less important, made Ancelotti and the entire entity shake off the trauma of what happened against the reds two years earlier in one of the most final recorded, when they lifted the 3-0 break. An episode impossible to avoid in the file of all the protagonists. “Carlo blamed himself for being blocked and had not had the resources to resolve the situation. From that experience he learned that you have to be more flexible and less dogmatic, ”says a person close to the current Madrid coach about that borderline episode.

That was the most dramatic point in a personal relationship with Liverpool that was very difficult to replicate, due to its length in time (40 years) and its great intensity. Even with the city, where he spent the harshest confinement.

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While some big names end their careers, on and off the field, without any Champions League final, he counts four against Liverpool alone. He started badly as a player (lowered in 84 with Roma due to a serious knee injury and defeat) and continued worse with the bump in Istanbul in 2005, although he later straightened up. His wishes to cross paths with Liverpool as soon as possible were soon fulfilled (he spent 2006-07 pending victories for the reds to meet them again) his bet on Inzaghi relieved him despite the suggestions of the offices; and nine months ago between Courtois and Vinicius they gave him an unexpected gift in Paris. Now, the round of 16 duel (this Tuesday, first leg in England; 9:00 p.m., Movistar Champions League) reunites these enemies intimate.

Carlo Ancelotti and Jürgen Klopp embrace before the last Champions League final.
Carlo Ancelotti and Jürgen Klopp embrace before the last Champions League final.FRANCK FIFE (AFP)

But Anfield could also be his home after leaving the Bernabéu in 2015. The American owners of Liverpool had just fired Brendan Rogers at the beginning of October, they had the team tenth in the Premier and, in addition to Jürgen Klopp -finally chosen-, among His options included Ancelotti. From the white coach’s environment they assure that, when that call was made, the talks with Bayern for the next campaign were already advanced.

He had also received offers from Milan and the Italian federation, but his idea, he added, was to take a sabbatical until he landed in Munich the following summer, go to Vancouver, have surgery on a hernia that was numbing one hand, and learn German by the time he arrived. time to replace Pep Guardiola in Bavaria. The announcement of his landing at the Allianz and the Catalan’s departure occurred that December 2015, with anticipation and transparency that are very strange to see at the highest level. Enough time for the study of German in his Canadian retirement to bear its first fruits in the presentation with the German club.

Anfield was not his home, but the city of Liverpool was years later, where he suffered the outbreak of the pandemic and the worst of his first part. One more seasoning to this close relationship. He arrived there in December 2019, just ten days after being fired from Naples, to sign for Everton, whose stadium is located just a kilometer and a half from the venue. red. The streets of the Beatles, however, could hardly step on them because of the forced confinement that precipitated shortly after. A visit to a couple of Italian restaurants in the short time that he had normality and then a shelter at home.

Liverpool, of course, was one of his first rivals, in the third round of the FA Cup, and fell despite the fact that Klopp did not have Salah, Mané, Firmino, Van Dijk, Allison or Alexander-Arnold. He retaliated, yes, the following year, in the Premier, with Everton’s first win at Anfield (0-2) in 22 years and which this Monday marked two years.

After four Champions League finals, this round of 16 tie will make Liverpool the second non-Italian team he has faced the most as a coach (he will reach 19 games; two more with Atlético). With Madrid, far from the bad initial experiences, they have always won: 1-0 and 0-3 in the 2014-15 group stage, and the last final in Paris.

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