Carlo Ancelotti: In profile
By Football News
There may be no better man than Carlo Ancelotti to lead Real Madrid's charge for a historic 10th European crown.
The Italian is a European Cup/UEFA Champions League specialist, having won the competition on four occasions as both a player and a coach for Milan.
And Ancelotti can become only the second manager after iconic Liverpool boss Bob Paisley to lift the trophy three times with a win over Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
Ancelotti was a key component of Arrigo Sacchi's legendary Milan team that won the European Cup in successive seasons in 1988-89 and 1989-90, alongside the likes of Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini and Marco van Basten.
Fast forward 13 years and Ancelotti tasted European glory from the dugout, as his Milan side edged Juventus on penalties at Old Trafford.
That same Milan side appeared destined for yet more Champions League glory in Istanbul in 2005, as they raced into a 3-0 half-time lead over Liverpool, only to be pegged back and lose on spot-kicks in one of the most remarkable finals in history.
However, Ancelotti did exact a measure of revenge over Liverpool in the final two years later, as Milan beat the Premier League club 2-1 in Athens.
Now, after just one season in the Spanish capital and with a Copa del Rey triumph already under his belt, Ancelotti has the opportunity to add to his cabinet of silverware, with only city rivals Atletico standing in the way of Real's first Champions League victory since 2001 - and 10th overall.
"The Champions League has given me a lot personally; this is the seventh final I've taken part in and I've won it four times," said the 54-year-old.
"The chance to be the Real Madrid manager when the club wins the Decima (10th European crown) is a big motivation."
Having risen through the playing ranks at Parma, Ancelotti joined Roma in 1979, where he captained the club and won a Scudetto, as well as four Coppa Italia titles.
His success saw him move on to bigger and better things in Milan, and it was not long before he had further glory with nine trophies in five years for the Italian giants.
Ancelotti, who earned 26 caps for the Italian national team, eventually turned his attention to the managerial side of football and in just one season in charge of Reggina, he secured the club's promotion from Serie B.
Boyhood club Parma came calling again and his three-year spell in charge at the Stadio Ennio Tardini saw Ancelotti oversee a runner-up finish in Italy's top flight and qualification for the Champions League.
An underwhelming spell at Juventus followed, before he really built his reputation as a world-class coach at San Siro after arriving in 2001.
Ancelotti duly won one Serie A title, the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup - as well as two Champions League crowns - in a glittering eight-year period in charge.
The Italian then claimed a Premier League and FA Cup double in the first of his two seasons at Chelsea, before then delivering Paris Saint-Germain's first Ligue 1 crown in 19 years in 2012-13.
Now in the Spanish capital, having succeeded Jose Mourinho at the start of the campaign, the stage is set for a landmark evening in Lisbon.