Whereas Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s 91st minute goal looks like a blemish on Real Madrid’s otherwise flawless day in Gelsenkirchen, Carlo Ancelotti is having none it. Speaking to the media after his team’s crushing 6-1 victory over Schalke in UEFA Champions League, the Real Madrid coach hailed los Blancos’ perfection in their Round of 16’s opening leg.
“I’m satisfied with everything because that was the perfect game,” Ancelotti said. “My players played with togetherness and they played well. Everything came off for us. The [front three] all scored and were great but they also had help from their teammates. Our attacking trio are very dangerous.”
After Wednesday’s rout, dangerous became euphemistic. Ancelotti’s attacking trio of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo were nearly unstoppable, with only a series of late first half saves from Schalke’s Ralf Fährmann preventing what could have been a record-setting result.
Content with a more modest result, Ancelotti was left Ancelotti reaching for coaching clichés to try to preserve the matchup’s drama, with the former Champions League-winning coach appealing to his team’s professionalism ahead of the return leg in Madrid.
“We must have respect for our opponents and their fans,” Ancelotti explained. “There is a return leg to come and football can be strange. The advantage is a big one but we still have to play the second match.”
That match will take place March 18 at the Santiago Bernabéu. In the interim, Spain’s leaders have their fourth derby of the season against crosstown rivals Atlético, with the two teams meeting this weekend at the Vicente Calderón.
“I hope to repeat tonight’s performance in the derby on Sunday,” Ancelotti said. “There might be changes to the side for that game but it’s hard to change things when you play like we did tonight.”