Carlo Ancelotti hopes to make history by clinching a fourth Champions League title this season, but isn’t sure where his Real Madrid is among the favorites to win the competition.
The seasoned Italian coach is on par with Liverpool great Bob Paisley and former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane with three triumphs in the competition formerly known as the European Cup.
Ancelotti is known to have ended Real’s 12-year wait for ‘La Decima’, the tenth European crown, by beating Atletico Madrid 4-1 in the 2013-14 final in Lisbon.
Los Blancos went on to win the competition in three consecutive seasons under Zidane, during which Ancelotti was head of Bayern Munich and Napoli, before a spell with Everton.
Having returned to the Santiago Bernabeu since June, Ancelotti aims to become the most titled coach ever in continental competition, after having made it all the way twice also with Milan.
“It is a great motivation,” he said in a press conference before the opening match of Wednesday’s group against Inter Milan.
But the biggest motivation of all is to come back and win with Real Madrid. The joy is going to Valdebebas every day to train the team.
“For me this competition is special. I also won it as a player and I have great memories, especially Real Madrid’s 10th victory. It is a fresh and special memory ».
Ancelotti’s 76% of wins in his 25 Champions League matches with Real is the best of any manager in a single club to have managed at least 20 games.
He will try to take advantage of Wednesday’s return, when Real travel to San Siro for the highly anticipated debut match of Group D against the Italian champions Inter.
The Los Blancos will try to advance from a group that also includes Shakhtar Donetsk and rookies Sheriff Tiraspol, but more complicated tests would be lurking.
Paris Saint-Germain are the trophy favorite of many after adding Lionel Messi to their ranks, while Bayern Munich and England’s four-member contingent are also very imaginative.
“It is difficult to say whether we can be considered among the favorites,” said Ancelotti when asked where his team is currently ranked among Europe’s elite clubs.
“What I can say is that Real Madrid will be competitive all the way. To say if we are favorites is too difficult. We will try to fight for everything “.
Madrid have only won one of their previous eight away games against Inter in European competition, although the victory came in last season’s group stage.
Both teams have a new coach on the bench 10 months after that previous match, with Simone Inzaghi replacing Antonio Conte at Inter ahead of this season.
Inter lost their first points of the season on Sunday with a 2-2 draw against Sampdoria, while Madrid beat Celta Vigo 5-2 to claim three out of four wins this season.
“So far Inter are doing well,” said Ancelotti. “We did well in our last game against Celta, but tomorrow will be another story. It is a competition that gives Madrid great sensations.
“We know it will be complicated. Inter have a new coach but the structure is the same. We will try to control the game and play the best.
“They have lost important players but they have also taken some important players. They are a team that plays good football. It will be an open and competitive match. “
Ancelotti also confirmed that goalkeeper Marcelo will not play against Inter due to an injury, while Gareth Bale is also absent.