Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has hit back at pundits and others hailing English football as superior after Los Blancos eliminated Chelsea from the Champions League. The Italian manager lauded Spanish football and gave examples of Villarreal and potentially Atletico Madrid in the competition this season.
While Real Madrid eliminated Chelsea in the quarterfinals, Villarreal eliminated Bayern Munich in what was a major upset. Atletico play against Manchester City in Madrid on Wednesday with the Premier League side holding a slender 1-0 advantage.
Los Blancos won 3-1 against the Blues in the first leg at Stamford Bridge last week in their tie. However, the west London side scored three goals at the Santiago Bernabeu to make it 4-3 on aggregate. Rodrygo then scored to make it 4-4 and take the game to extra time. Karim Benzema scored the second goal for Madrid, which turned out to be the winner on aggregate.
After the match, Ancelotti told Canale 5 (via Football Italia):
“This club never gives up. For this reason, we have received a big award such as the semi-finals. The environment helped us. Our first goal was a huge blow for them. Real Madrid is accustomed to playing semi-finals, but we are proud to have reached this target because everyone said that English football was superior to Spanish football.”
“In the end, Spain have two teams in the semis. It’s not personal revenge, I am happy for Villarreal and Unai Emery, an excellent team and a great coach. Tomorrow there is another candidate for the semis, Atletico Madrid.”
Chelsea change focus to FA Cup as Real Madrid’s hope for a double still alive
Chelsea have already won the UEFA Super cup and the FIFA Club World Cup this season. After their elimination from the Champions League, however, their hopes for more silverware this season lie in the FA Cup. They face Crystal Palace in the semi-finals on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
Los Blancos, meanwhile, have won the Supercopa de Espana this season. They also lead the La Liga table by 12-points over second-placed Barcelona, who have a game in hand. Ancelotti’s men travel to third-placed Sevilla on Sunday in their next fixture.
In the Champions League, they will take on the winner of Manchester City vs Atletico Madrid in the semifinals.