Carlo Ancelotti hopes to make history with his fourth Champions League title this season but isn’t sure where his Real Madrid are favorites to win.
The seasoned Italian coach is tied with Liverpool’s great Bob Paisley and ex-Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane with three triumphs in what was previously known as the European Cup.
Ancelotti ended Madrid’s 12-year wait for “La Decima” – a tenth European crown – when he beat Atletico Madrid 4-1 in the 2013-14 final in Lisbon.
Los Blancos won the competition for three consecutive seasons under Zidane, during which time Ancelotti was boss of Bayern Munich and Napoli before joining Everton.
Ancelotti has returned to the Santiago Bernabeu since June and aims to become the most successful coach of all time in continental competition, having also played twice with Milan.
“It’s a great motivation,” he said at a press conference presenting the group’s opening game against Inter on Wednesday.
“But the biggest motivation of all is to come back and win with Real Madrid. The joy is going to Valdebebas every day to coach the team.
“This competition is something special for me. I also won it as a player and have excellent memories, especially 10th place in Madrid. It’s a fresh and special memory. “
Ancelotti’s 76 percent win rate in his 25 Champions League games with Madrid is the best of any single club coach to have played at least 20 games.
He will look to build on that return on Wednesday when Madrid travel to San Siro for the highly anticipated Group D opener with Italian champions Inter.
Los Blancos will appreciate their chances of progressing in a group that also includes Shakhtar Donetsk and debutant Sheriff Tiraspol, but then more tricky tests would be waiting.
Paris Saint-Germain is the trophy favorite of many after Lionel Messi joined their ranks, while Bayern Munich and England’s four-man squad are also in high demand.
“It is difficult to say whether we are among the favorites,” said Ancelotti when asked where his team are currently in the top group in Europe.
“What I can say is that Madrid will be competitive all the way. To say if we are favorites is too difficult. We’ll just try to fight for everything. “
Madrid have only won one of their last eight away games against Inter in European competitions, despite that victory was achieved in the group stage last season.
Both teams have a new head coach in the dugout 10 months after their previous encounter, with Simone Inzaghi replacing Antonio Conte at Inter ahead of this season.
Inter lost their first points of the season in a 2-2 draw with Sampdoria on Sunday, while Madrid beat Celta Vigo 5-2, taking three out of four wins this season.
“Inter are doing well so far,” said Ancelotti. “We did well in our last game against Celta, but tomorrow is a different story. It is a competition that has given Madrid great sensations.
“We know it gets complicated. Inter have a new coach but the structure is the same. We will try to control the game and do our best.
“You lost important players, but you also signed some important players. They are a team that plays good football. It will be an open and competitive game. “
Ancelotti also confirmed that full-back Marcelo will not play a role against Inter due to an injury while Gareth Bale is also absent.