Ancelotti to Xabi Alonso: You owe me the Champions League

The new Real Madrid boss has not forgotten about the remarkable 2005 Champions League final where Liverpool beat AC Milan, while the midfielder has defended Jose Mourinho
New Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has jokingly told Xabi Alonso that he 'owes' him a European Cup following the 2005 Champions League final.

Ancelotti was head coach of the AC Milan side that gave away a three-goal lead against Alonso's Liverpool in the showpiece in Istanbul eight years ago, and the Italian coach has not forgotten about the events at the Ataturk Stadium.

"The first thing Ancelotti said to me after his arrival was that I owe him a European Cup," Alonso revealed in an interview with El Mundo.

The midfielder then went on to defend Jose Mourinho against recent criticism and stressed that the Portuguese coach always respects his players as long as they give their all.

Alonso added: "Mourinho always respects the players who work hard for the team. My father used to be a coach, so I grew up in an environment where there was a lot of respect for figures like him. It is very difficult to control 25 players."

Alonso also had his say on former Madrid greats such as Fernando Redondo and Fernando Hierro and stated that he learned a lot from both.

"Hierro taught me a lot about what it means to be captain. Redondo as well from everything I hear about him and his period here," he said.

"These are players who won European Cups and knew they could compete once they'd made it to the quarter-finals."

Madrid are currently preparing for their Liga opener against Betis on Sunday.