Carlo Ancelotti was already seeking to steer momentum towards Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City as Real Madrid celebrated their La Liga title win.
“And now to Wednesday, yes we can!” Ancelotti shouted at the adoring crowd, who chanted back “si, se puede!”, “yes we can!”
Beyond concerns about recovery or fatigue, there were suggestions that dwelling on a 35th Spanish league title might reduce, even subconsciously, some of the need and desperation to chase a 14th European Cup.
But Ancelotti was in no doubt that celebrations, with all the positivity and energy attached, would help, not hinder, Madrid’s pursuit of another Champions League final.
“A celebration is good for the mental side of things,” Ancelotti said. “We are professionals. Tonight we all celebrate together. Tomorrow we train and Wednesday we have another important match. If during the celebrations someone cuts their foot or a leg, okay, but that won’t happen.”
Madrid performed a similar routine before their sensational comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16. After thrashing Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu the Saturday before the return leg, Real Madrid’s players walked back out onto the pitch long after the final whistle, to applaud and absorb the chants of the fans, who were urging the team to believe a comeback was possible.
Manchester City, though, are a different proposition to PSG, a more complete, astute and resolute team, who will be less vulnerable to the aura of Real Madrid in Europe.
“At the Bernabeu, nothing is ever lost. I can’t explain it but there is a magic at the Bernabeu that helps you,” said Ancelotti after Madrid came from 2-0 down on aggregate to beat PSG 3-2, Karim Benzema scoring a second-half hat-trick.
Victors will face Liverpool FC in the finals after they won 2-5 aggregate against Villarreal. A winning Manchester City would lead to two consecutive English Champions League finals as City faced Chelsea FC last season where they suffered defeat against the West London side.