Real Madrid is determined not to be knocked off their perch at the top of European football this season, as they prepare to kick off their campaign against Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday in Helsinki.
Carlo Ancelotti, the only manager to win the Champions League four times, said his team’s 1-0 win over Liverpool in last season’s final made him feel “like no one should ever take your place.”
“And that’s a pretty powerful incentive to keep winning, “In an interview with UEFA.com, he stated.
Ancelotti returned to Real Madrid for a second stint ahead of last season, leading them to their 35th Spanish title.
However, it was in Europe where Real really impressed, pulling off comeback victories over Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City before beating the heavily favoured Reds in the final.
“All the comebacks we made were achieved in our stadium, thanks to that boost which came from the stands. Always believe, never give up. After all, we played against very strong teams. It was inevitable that we would suffer,” he said.
The Italian coach said he saw echoes of Real’s fighting spirit in their underdog opponents Frankfurt, and was aware not to take last season’s Europa League winners lightly.
“Last year, Eintracht achieved something special because they weren’t among the favourites,” added Ancelotti, whose side recently returned from a pre-season tour to the United States.
The game will be played at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki on Wednesday, and it will be Frankfurt’s first competitive meeting with Madrid since the legendary 1960 European Cup final, which the Spanish giants won 7-3.
Real Madrid will be making their eighth Super Cup appearance, having won the trophy four times previously.
Ancelotti is undefeated in Super Cup finals. He won two with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007, and one with Real Madrid in 2014.
While Real face a team that qualified for the final after winning their first European trophy in 42 years, Ancelotti believes Frankfurt has the advantage heading into Wednesday’s clash in Helsinki.
“We have a few more disadvantages than Eintracht, who start their season earlier, but we’ll play to win,” he said.
Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp said his team would not be intimidated by Real Madrid and were looking forward to their first Champions League campaign this year.
They eliminated Barcelona on their way to winning the Europa League last season, defeating Rangers on penalties in the final in Seville.
“We want to be a team who are awkward to play against, who fight and never give up. Of course we have respect, but not fear,” the former PSG goalkeeper told the Eintracht Frankfurt website in an interview published Sunday.
“Playing in the Super Cup means you’ve been successful, earned it and done a good job. To have the opportunity at this stage of the season to win a trophy against this club (Madrid) –- it doesn’t get better.”