• Champions League

Ronaldo happy to face Mourinho with 'transformed' Madrid

ESPN staff
April 30, 2014
Chelsea and Atletico battle for Real prize

Cristiano Ronaldo claims Carlo Ancelotti deserves the credit for transforming Real Madrid into Champions League contenders after they ended their last-four jinx.

Previous manager Jose Mourinho - whom Ronaldo says he would be happy to face in this year's showpiece - could not get the Spanish club past the penultimate stage of the competition in three attempts but the world player of the year says they have grown under the Italian and can look forward to the club's first final in 12 years with confidence.

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Ronaldo said: "Ancelotti deserves all the praise. He has changed everything. He has changed the mentality of the players.

"We have been losing in the semis for a long time, three or four years, but the most important thing is that now we are in a deserved final and we have our feet on the ground."

Ronaldo set a new Champions League goalscoring record as Madrid demolished Bayern Munich 4-0 at the Allianz Arena and 5-0 on aggregate to reach the final in Lisbon on May 23.

He expects Madrid to have to win a tough final against Chelsea or Atletico Madrid, who play the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday, but would be happy to face his former manager.

Despite speculation the pair had fallen out at Madrid, Mourinho went on to claim coaching Ronaldo was the "highlight of my career" and that his fellow countryman was the "most professional player" he had ever worked with.

"A final is always difficult," Ronaldo said. "I don't care if it's Mourinho or another coach. It will be in my country and I want to win the Champions League. "

Madrid manager Ancelotti, who guided Chelsea to a Premier League and FA Cup double in 2010, is also relaxed about the possibility of facing former colleagues.

"Chelsea have a lot of experience for this kind of game," Ancelotti said. "On the other side, Atletico are a team with a lot of enthusiasm at this moment but it doesn't matter."

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