Real Madrid will relish the pressure that comes with their Champions League pedigree as they prepare to take on Manchester City in the first leg of their semi-final tie.
Los Blancos have had a tough route to the final four in Europe’s premier competition, having to come from behind to beat both Paris Saint-Germain and last year’s winners Chelsea.
Speaking at a news conference, Carlo Ancelotti was asked about comments from City boss Pep Guardiola that his team would be playing against history on Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium, with Madrid having won 13 European Cups or Champions League titles, six more than any other club.
“The history that Real Madrid has in this competition means a lot to us, more than to our rivals,” Ancelotti said.
“This story, which has grown over all these years, helps players feel the weight of this shirt. It is positive, not negative.
“The pressure is similar, there is a lot of pressure. For Madrid, it is not usually a success to reach the semi-final, we want to reach the final, which is a success. It is the goal. If it arrives, Real Madrid usually have more options to win it because of our history.”
Ancelotti was also asked about the defensive approach Atletico Madrid took against City in the quarter-finals and whether he intends to do similar, replying: “If you don’t have a compact team against City you will lose, so you have to be compact. Defence will play a very important part in tomorrow’s game.”
The 62-year-old, who saw his Everton team get beat 5-0 on his last visit to the Etihad Stadium at the end of last season, will have to make a decision on the fitness of some players after training, with David Alaba and Casemiro possible absentees in Manchester.
“From what we saw in training yesterday. [Ferland] Mendy is fine. We have some doubts with Alaba and, above all, Casemiro,” he added.
“We have much more confidence with Alaba than with Casemiro. If Casemiro doesn’t play, he will be available for the [second leg].”
Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde also spoke to the media, and like Ancelotti, was asked about the weight of the shirt, with the Uruguay international saying: “When you put on the Real Madrid shirt you want to fight for everything until the last minute. It is part of the history of Madrid. You are always the favourite to win it all.”