Sunday July 9 2017
Ancelotti: 'Competitive Champions'

Carlo Ancelotti believes the Champions League will “be more competitive than ever” with Bayern Munich, Juventus, Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and PSG.

The Bayern Munich boss has won trophies in all five major European Leagues, as well as the Champions League for Milan and Real Madrid.

“I dream of lifting the Champions League for a fourth time,” he told the Corriere dello Sport newspaper.

“The tournament will be tougher than ever this time around for a series of reasons. There will be the return of the big English clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United, the desire of Barcelona and Bayern Munich to get back on track, Juventus eager to finally lift that trophy after so many lost Finals and above all the idea of a Real Madrid hat-trick.

“The objective for all of these sides, including Paris Saint-Germain, is at least the semi-final. They all need to be part of Europe’s top four.”

Bayern Munich went out in controversial fashion in the quarter-finals against Real Madrid.

“We were criticised in Germany for the elimination, but Victor Kassai did most of it…” said Ancelotti of the Hungarian referee.

Juventus lost the Final 4-1 to Real Madrid, crumbling in the second half in Cardiff.

“They were on the same level as Real before half-time, then you saw the difference in technique. Some suggested Juve lost because they didn’t have the options off the bench that Madrid had, but you win Finals with starters, not substitutes.

“Zinedine Zidane did something extraordinary, as winning two Champions League Finals in your first two years as a Coach was fantastic. He is in sync with the group.

“Paulo Dybala is a very good player, but to be placed behind Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. I repeat: behind. Juventus remain the favourites for the Scudetto, but Inter and Milan are getting closer.”

Ancelotti cast his eye over another of his former clubs, Antonio Conte’s Chelsea.

“Conte will be forced to change something, as he won the Premier League using practically the same players all the time. In the Champions League, he’ll need to buy a lot and buy well.”