UEFA Champions League

Carlo Ancelotti Surprised by Chelsea as Potential Real Madrid Showdown Looms

Real's head coach Carlo Ancelotti talks to the media at a press conference prior the UEFA Champions League second leg soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid in Dortmund, Monday, April 7, 2014.  (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner
Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2014

Carlo Ancelotti didn't expect to see Chelsea alongside his Real Madrid squad in the draw for the Champions League semi-finals, announcing he was "surprised" to witness Jose Mourinho's team complete a famous comeback against Paris Saint-German.

Trailing 3-1 after the first leg, Demba Ba's late winner thrust Chelsea into the final four, where they can now meet Ancelotti's La Liga giants. The Italian boss, a former Blues manager, congratulated his old team on their night of triumph, per Real Madrid's official website:

I know they won and they had a great result. I was surprised as it's not easy to beat PSG. I congratulate them, but for us it was important to get to the semis and we will see who we get in the draw.

Andres Kudacki

A showdown with Chelsea would certainly drum up plenty of emotion. Both Ancelotti and Jose Mourinho have led the opposite club in the last three years, and both will be itching to get one over their old employers.

Despite leading Chelsea to the Premier League, FA Cup and Community Shield titles in 2009-10, Ancelotti was sacked before the last match of the season one year later. His spell in West London was successful, but brief, like so many under the watchful eye of Roman Abramovich.

Mourinho led Madrid to La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup titles between 2010 and 2012, halting Barcelona's image as runaway winners in the process. The Portuguese boss suffered something of a difficult relationship with the Spanish press and left the Bernabeu after losing 3-2 to Atletico Madrid in the 2012-13 domestic cup final.

As noted by Thore Haugstad, editor of the official 2014 FIFA World Cup magazine, the Champions League semi-final is sure to throw up some mouth-watering managerial clashes:

Despite his surprise at PSG's loss, Ancelotti nearly saw his Madrid side throw away their 3-0 first-leg lead against Borussia Dortmund. The Germans got themselves back in the tie with two goals from Marco Reus, but despite missing a penalty through Angel di Maria, Madrid held on for the overall win.

Matt Dunham

Ancelotti won the Champions League twice during his tenure with AC Milan, while Mourinho has also landed the prize twice with Porto and Inter Milan. We can expect fireworks if the two legendary managers are to come face-to-face on the road to Lisbon's final.

Both managers will be looking to get one over their old team if Friday's draw places them together. It's not often both managers share an inside knowledge of the opposition, especially considering today's squads were partly built by the club's potential rivals.

Although fate is yet to strike these two together, both Madrid and Chelsea will feel Champions League glory awaits, no matter whom they face in the next round.

 


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