When you talk about the world’s top managers, it’s usually the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp who get the most mentions. But, there is one man who has fleetingly been named as one of the best in the business, and that’s Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti.
Ancelotti, 62, has managed some of the world’s finest football clubs, with Juventus, Milan, Chelsea, PSG, Bayern and Real Madrid on his CV. And, let’s face it, he’s a proven winner at both domestic and European levels. He’s a league champion in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France. And there aren’t many managers who can say that.
An area where Ancelotti, who swapped Everton for a return to Real Madrid last summer, specialises, is the Champions League. He first tasted success in Europe’s top club competition in 2002/03 with Milan and followed that up by winning it again with the Italian giants in 2006/07. The Italian has also lifted the Champions League trophy with Real Madrid in 2013/14 during his first stint at the club and is now level for the most titles won in the competition with Bob Paisley and Zinedine Zidane.
While some people may suggest that Ancelotti is arguably in the bracket below the likes of Guardiola and Klopp, becoming the most successful manager in Europe’s most prestigious club competition will surely see him be more recognised for his achievements. Both Guardiola (2) and Klopp (1) have tasted Champions League success. The latter will be aiming to win it again to tie with his Premier League rival and move one behind Ancelotti.
What will stand Ancelotti in good stead ahead of the 2022 showpiece is that he has multiple players in his ranks who have won the Champions League on more than one occasion. Karim Benzema, Dani Carvajal, Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos, who are all likely to feature in the final against Liverpool, have four winners medals to their name already, and they’ll be eager to make it five, which will bring them level with Cristiano Ronaldo who is the competitions most successful player with five titles.
Champions League success would be an excellent addition to Ancelotti’s and Real Madrid’s haul this season, with the La Liga title and Supercopa in the bag already. They've not lifted the trophy since their run of three successful competitions in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18, so it would mark a return to the top of Spain and Europe too.
The onus will then be on for Real to cement their place there, something they will have to do without the likes of Gareth Bale, stalwart Marcelo and midfielder Isco, who are all set to depart when their contracts expire in the coming weeks. The rumoured arrival of PSG’s Kylian Mbappe could be a step in the right direction in breathing new life into what is a footballing powerhouse.