Carlo Ancelotti thought Real Madrid had a “perfect match” after a 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona at Camp Nou secured them a 4-1 aggregate win in the Copa del Rey final.
Madrid faced a daunting task en route to the home of their Clasico rivals, who are 12 points clear of Ancelotti’s side at the La Liga summit, facing a one-goal deficit after Eder Militao’s own goal gave Barca a 1-0 victory: 0 in the first match at the Bernabeu.
But Vinicius Junior equalized shortly before half-time before Karim Benzema scored a hat-trick in the second half to send Real Madrid to a magnificent triumph and secure a place in the final against Osasuna on 6 May.
Ancelotti was delighted with his team’s heroism in the second match, telling reporters at the post-match press conference: “It was a full game. When you win here 4-0, it’s in every sense.
“We played a great game. The first goal changed the dynamics, we found more space in transitions.
“At first it was a bit difficult, but in the second half we performed very well. We didn’t panic when they pushed and we knew how to use spaces in transitions.
“We played the perfect match.”
40 – Real Madrid will play their 40th Copa del Rey final, having won two of the last three (2011 and 2014).
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 5, 2023
Benzema has not been able to match the same form that got him the Ballon d’Or in October this season, battling injuries and not getting the same scoring record.
But after the international break, the striker scored hat-tricks in consecutive matches, bringing his season total to 25 of 31 matches in all competitions.
Ancelotti believes the striker has to some extent returned to his brilliance, saying: “He did a very good job at the (international) break, he found his optimal form and his quality counts without a doubt.
“He flipped the switch. He is still one of the best players in the world without a doubt. If he is in shape, then he is one of the best.
“He can win another Ballon d’Or because he is one of the best strikers in the world.”