Carlo Ancelotti declared himself the “record man” after becoming the first coach to win the European Cup or Champions League four times after Vinicius Junior fired Real Madrid to a 1-0 final win over Liverpool.
Vinicius’ second-half goal proved decisively as Madrid won their 14th European crown – twice as many as any other side has managed in the competition’s history – as Los Blancos added European football’s biggest prize to their LaLiga title triumph.
Madrid had to stand firm in the face of sustained Liverpool pressure, with Jurgen Klopp’s men registering 24 shots during the course of the contest, but Los Blancos produced a resilient performance to replicate their 2018 final win over the Reds.
Having led Milan to Champions League titles in 2002-03 and 2006-07 and done likewise with Madrid in 2013-14 and 2021-22, Ancelotti is now the most successful manager in the history of the competition.
Speaking to BT Sport in the aftermath of the win, the Italian said he felt fortunate to have returned to the Santiago Bernabeu prior to the start of the season, also hailing his team’s character after they followed up a series of dramatic European comebacks with another final win.
“I am the record man!” hey laughed “I had the luck to come here last year, and to have a fantastic season.
“I found, as usual, a fantastic club and a really good squad, with a lot of quality and a strong mental character. I think this season was top.
“I cannot believe it. I think that we had a fantastic season, and we did really well. It was a difficult game.
“We suffered a lot, more at the start, [we were] better second half. I think in the end, with all the games that we played, we deserved to win this competition.
“I think that we passed through a really difficult game every game, the supporters helped us a lot, in the last game [a 6-5 aggregate semi-final win over Manchester City] and tonight.
“We are really happy, honestly, what can I say? I cannot say more.”
Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois played a crucial role in ensuring the victory, making nine saves during the game, the most on record by a goalkeeper in a single Champions League final (since 2003-04).
Asked to describe the Belgian’s performance, Ancelotti was lost for words, saying: “Unbelievable. I tell you, I cannot believe it!”
Madrid had already become the first team to reach the Champions League final after losing a game in each of the last 16, quarter-finals, and semi-finals, making their triumph one of the most dramatic in recent history.
Asked about Madrid’s incredible record on the biggest stage by M+, Ancelotti shrugged: “This is Real Madrid.”