Carlo Ancelotti has divulged on a conversation he had with Jurgen Klopp, with the Liverpool boss in no doubt that it was a “criminal act” to allow the Reds’ Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid to go ahead.
While the UK had yet to take any measures to stop mass gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic prior to the last-16 tie on March 11, Madrid had already enacted their lockdown.
The Spanish capital in the days leading up to the fixture had accounted for just under half of all Spain’s cases and La Liga had already moved games behind-closed-doors before it was eventually suspended.
Yet, the UK government allowed the freedom of movement to continue and thousands of Madrid fans and a host of journalists arrived in the country and would all descend on the city of Liverpool.
The Reds would, of course, relinquish a 2-0 lead in extra-time to see Atletico emerge victorious in what was the last professional football game to be played in the country before they were indefinitely postponed two days later.
Klopp was clearly frustrated and angry in the buildup as he hit out at a Madrid-based journalist, and Ancellotti has since revealed that the boss felt it was “criminal” that the game was allowed to go on amid the ever-rising cases of coronavirus.
“The other day I heard [from] Klopp,” Ancelotti told Corriere dello Sport.
“He told me that making the game [go ahead] in those conditions was a criminal act, I think he was right.”
The league then came to a grinding halt and it will not return until April 30 at the earliest, with many in agreement it will extend well beyond that provisional date.
But the Everton manager is not concerned with when the season will start or the need for a mini pre-season before the season resumes, calling it a “false myth” due to past experiences at AC Milan.
“Today, the priority is health, limiting the contagion. When you start again, when you finish, the dates… believe me, I don’t care. At the moment, that’s the last thing on my mind,” Ancelotti added.
“I hear talk about cutting salaries, suspension of payments. They seem like inopportune solutions. Soon the economy will change, and that’s at all levels: The TV rights will be less, players and coaches will earn less, tickets will cost less because people will have less money.
“I repeat, what matters now is to fight the virus effectively. Then, of course, if it will be possible to continue the season…otherwise, amen.”