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Carlo Ancelotti claims ‘it is no coincidence’ that Real Madrid perform in the biggest Champions League moments



Carlo Ancelotti claims 'it is no coincidence' that Real Madrid perform in the biggest Champions League moments

LONDON — As Real Madrid close in on their 15th Champions League title, Carlo Ancelotti is convinced there is more than just coincidence in his side’s penchant for results.

Throughout their history, and especially during their run of five European Cups in the past nine years, the Spanish champions have rarely skimped on drama under the Champions League lights. Their run to Wembley this season had all the usual Madrid hallmarks: Joselu’s late double secured defeat for Bayern Munich to victory, a penalty shootout win against Manchester City and a dramatic backline to maintain their lead over RB Leipzig.

Two years earlier, it was Karim Benzema who made his way through the field. In their run of three consecutive titles between 2016 and 2018, Cristiano Ronaldo was consistently the man to break the hearts of the opposition. The names on the shirt may change, but one thing seems inevitable: Real Madrid will score late.

“It is difficult to answer why,” Ancelotti said at the pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s meeting with Borussia Dortmund. “It happens very often. There is something special in this club. It will be important to study that.”

“There is causality. I don’t know about what. The history, the traditions, the quality of the players, the character. It’s not a coincidence.”

This winning record puts some of the current squad on course to equal records that may have seemed unthinkable a decade ago. Paco Gento holds the record for the number of European Cups won by any individual; the number of six he collected in the 1950s and 1960s is, according to Luka Modric, “something unimaginable for anyone else”. On Saturday he, Dani Carvajal, Toni Kroos and club captain Nacho could match that.

Ancelotti has already secured his own place in the Champions League pantheon. No other coach has lifted the trophy four times. He is 90 minutes away from fifth place. Even after all that teamwork, he feels the nerves of a newcomer in the biggest game.

“A final is a final,” he said. “A Champions League final is the most important and dangerous match. It is a double-edged sword. We have to enjoy it to the maximum and then the fear arises that things could go wrong. We are so close to the most important thing.” football, winning a Champions League.

“There is fear, a certain worry that we all have inside. We are extremely happy to be here, it is complicated to play a final like this, but you really have to be lucky.

“When you reach final success, it’s so close that you start to worry. It starts tonight, tomorrow morning, with a lot of fear. That’s normal. If you have more fear, you will be happier when you finally win.”

Madrid are heavy favorites to do just that against Dortmund, whose fairytale run to the Champions League final coincided with a domestic season in which they finished fifth in the Bundesliga. However, Modric refuses to take that status for granted.

“Everyone thinks we are favorites, but we don’t think like that,” he said. “It’s a 50:50 match. We are playing against a big team that has had a wonderful season in the Champions League. There is a lot of respect for Borussia.”