Carlo Ancelotti scooped the first trophy of his second reign at Real Madrid and vowed his “ugly” team would go flat out to bring more silverware to the Santiago Bernabeu.
It had been 18 months since Madrid last won a title, the 2019-20 LaLiga crown in the pandemic-hit season that went into extra time, but a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in the Supercopa de Espana final scratched that itch.
Last term under Zinedine Zidane proved a struggle at times, but there is more zip and panache to the Madrid that Ancelotti has fielded this season. He won four trophies in his first two-year spell at Madrid from 2013 to 2015, and obviously fancies several more this time around.
Madrid are front-runners in LaLiga, albeit with Sevilla in pursuit, they remain in the Copa del Rey and also have Champions League ambitions ahead of a tough last-16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain.
This trip to Saudi Arabia for the Supercopa should provide a timely lift for Madrid, heading into the business end of the season. Seeing off Barcelona in a testing semi-final was a boon, and Madrid controlled the final against Athletic until flagging in the closing stages.
“I am very pleased, happy, and we continue,” Ancelotti said. “We are going to compete, but being here is lucky. It is an honour to train this team and this club. By the way, we are going to compete for the other competitions.
“We have the strength to fight for all competitions. This is a team I like to watch play. We don’t have just one way of playing, but rather different ones and that is the strength of this team.”
Ancelotti pointed out his personal trophy drought had also ended, after going without such success during spells with Napoli and Everton. It had been four and a half years since he last won any cup, which came at the tail end of his Bayern Munich tenure.
“I’m not tired of winning, because the last one was a [German] Super Cup with Bayern and I hadn’t won for a long time,” he said.
“Winning is the end of the job. Winning means you’ve done a good job. Sometimes it isn’t. I’ve done a good job at Napoli or Everton and I haven’t won anything.”
Ancelotti spared a playful jibe for his team, who appear to have taken kindly to their Italian coach.
“When you win a lot, you think you’re the most handsome, that you play the best football in the world and the sacrifice goes down a bit,” Ancelotti said.
“Fortunately, the sacrifice of our players is high. I think my players are not handsome … they are very ugly.”