Real ready to win it all, says Ancelotti
REAL Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said his side were on the verge of a new cycle of success after they beat Sevilla 2-0 to win the Uefa Super Cup.
The European champions began Tuesday's game in Cardiff with new signings James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos in the starting XI, but it was Cristiano Ronaldo who proved the match winner with a well-taken double.
It was a thoroughly deserved victory before a 33,500-strong crowd at the Cardiff City Stadium in the traditional curtain-raiser to the European club season. Europa League holders Sevilla battled well but were outclassed by the Champions League winners.
Along with Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, Madrid now boast an attack that cost around 310 million euros (S$518 million) to assemble, and Ancelotti has set them a target of winning all six of the trophies on offer this season.
"I think we might be starting a very important cycle, because we have a squad of extraordinary quality," he said.
"I'm fortunate to coach some outstanding players. We need to work very hard and make the necessary sacrifices. We can reach the highest heights and compete in all the competitions.
"It's hard to improve this team. We have an outstanding set of players and what's important is to use the squad to their full capacity.
"I can't think that with this squad I can have a permanent starting XI because they're all outstanding players and, to be competitive in all competitions, we need to rotate our players and use the whole squad."
Madrid employed a rapid, counter-attacking style last season, which ended with successes in both the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
Kroos and Rodriguez are both more considered players than the jet-heeled Ronaldo and Bale, but Ancelotti does not believe that the team will have to change its tactical approach in order to accommodate them.
"I don't think the style will change from last year," he said.
"We can still use counter-attacks and fast breaks. Kroos played in the same position as Xabi Alonso and with the same purpose, to circulate the ball and, whenever possible, to use the speed of our forwards."
Ronaldo, who has now scored 18 goals against Sevilla in his career, praised Madrid's two new recruits.
"Kroos and James are integrating very well and I wish them all the best in their adaptation," he said. "They did well. They're fantastic players."
Colombian World Cup star Rodriguez, an 80-million-euro acquisition from Monaco, told reporters: "I'm very happy. I hope it's the first of many titles."
Ronaldo struggled with a knee problem during the World Cup and, having played only once in pre-season prior to Tuesday's game, he admitted that he had been apprehensive about his return to competitive action.
"It was my first official match this season and I wasn't sure what would happen, but I felt good," he said, after receiving the Man of the Match award from his former Manchester United mentor Alex Ferguson.
"I was a bit nervous to see how I'd feel on the pitch. I think I managed to work well with the team and I'm happy with both goals."