The Ancelotti Cup in 2014 that promoted the golden cycle | Sports

Real Madrid won their last Copa del Rey on April 16, 2014 against Barcelona (1-2), with that unusual run outside the field by Gareth Bale. Since that night in Mestalla, and until this Saturday against Osasuna in La Cartuja (22:00, La1), not only have the whites not won the trophy again; they hadn’t even reached another final. Instead, since then they have raised five Champions.

In this nine-year journey from Valencia to Seville, and from Ancelotti to Ancelotti, there is much of the identity of a club that reveres the European Cup and does not stop losing its head over the oldest tournament in Spain. On this journey is also the forging of the second most successful cycle in the history of Madrid. The Italian coach, for whom that was his first trophy in Spain, locates the birth of the cycle in that final part, propped up five and a half weeks later with the Tenth in Lisbon, according to the account of a source who lived those days close to the coach.

When in the summer of 2013 he inherited the seat of José Mourinho, and received the hiring of Bale, Ancelotti glimpsed that he was before a squad with everything necessary to chain titles. He also found himself a hurt group after the departure of the Portuguese coach, a few weeks after losing a Cup final at the Santiago Bernabéu against Atlético de Madrid, who had not won a match for 14 years. The blow was added to the elimination in the Champions League semifinals against Borussia Dortmund a few days earlier.

So, in his first spell on the Madrid bench, Ancelotti used himself to channel the latent anger of his footballers so that they would show that they were not the problem. From there was born that triumph in Mestalla, obtained without the participation of Cristiano Ronaldo, injured. An accolade to continue growing, as seen by the coaching staff. Knocking down Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Neymar and Messi’s Barça was an almost instrumental joy that led to La Décima and the following, and also to a abandonment of the Cup plagued by resounding thuds.

Two seasons later, Madrid was eliminated in the first round against Cádiz, from Segunda B, due to the improper alignment of Dennis Cheryshev. Rafa Benítez was fired weeks later, and his replacement, Zinedine Zidane, ended up lifting his first Champions League in Milan against Atlético. Two courses later, another firecracker: Leganés came back from the quarterfinal tie at the Bernabéu and left the whites out. Zidane, desperate for the drop in team tension, talked about going with the president, Florentino Pérez, who managed to dissuade him. A few months later, the Frenchman won his third consecutive Champions League, in the 2018 kyiv final.

It would not be Zidane’s last great disappointment with the Cup. In January 2021, Madrid were eliminated in the round of 32 against Alcoyano, from Segunda B. A few months later, they reached the Champions League semifinal, where Chelsea stopped them, who He ended up proclaiming himself champion. Shortly after, the Frenchman left the club again and Ancelotti reappeared for his second stage, also for his second Cup final, after so much drought.

The circumstance is not strange in the offices, where the competition has been placed for decades on the third step, which has translated into the commitment of the dressing room, and in the showcases. Madrid has won 19 of the 118 editions of the tournament, 16%, while it has won 38% of the Leagues and 27% of the 52 editions of the European Cup in which it has participated. The Madrid anomaly with the Copa del Rey even reaches the finals: they have lost 20, more than the 19 they have won. The Champions League record has nothing to do with it: they have won 14 and have only lost three, the last one in 1981 against Liverpool.

Seven days after the 2014 Cup final, Ancelotti received Guardiola at the Bernabéu for the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Bayern. They eliminated it and won the Tenth. Three days after the final on Saturday, Ancelotti welcomes Guardiola again for another first leg of the Champions League semifinal, this time with Manchester City.

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