Real Madrid have appointed Carlo Ancelotti as their new manager on a three-year deal.
Nine-time champions Madrid are a 6/1 shot to win the Champions League in the Italian’s inaugural season at the helm, and there is much to suggest he can simultaneously win the competition for a third time as a manager.
In each of previous manager Jose Mourinho’s three seasons at the Bernabeu Real reached the semi-finals, a shortcoming that ultimately cost the Portuguese his job.
Few European managers are as gilded as Ancelotti, who lead Milan to Champions League triumph in 2003 and 2007, also reaching the final in 2005 before losing unexpectedly to Liverpool.
Indeed the 54-year-old has rarely failed in any of his managerial reigns, and comes to Spain having just won Ligue 1 with PSG in what was his first full season in Paris. The French side also reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, before ultimately going out to Barcelona on away goals – and impressing in the process.
That success, together with numerous trophies in England and Italy, emphasises Ancelotti’s ability to successfully handle and direct star-studded players, a perennial problem for the man in charge at the Bernabeu.
The newly-appointed gaffer will not have to build a squad from scratch, joining Real after a prolonged period of heavy spending by club president Florentino Perez that has seen talents such as Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema added to the roster, as well as the much-revered playmaker of his trophy-laden Milan side, Kaka.
In what looks like becoming another coup for Los Merengues, attacking-midfielder Isco would appear to be keen on joining from Malaga. The 21-year-old turned in a series of virtuoso displays during Spain’s recent triumph at the Euro Under-21 tournament, and would augment an attack already rich in options.
Current champions Bayern Munich are the 7/2 favourites to retain their title, with Barcelona at 4/1 the only other side above real in the betting.
However, the Catalans appear to be in a state of flux, and were certainly not the force they were under Pep Guardiola at times last season, failing to beat Real Madrid in the Primera Liga – their record points tally belied their struggles in the bigger matches – and getting obliterated by Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals. Under the auspices of Ancelotti, Real look well priced to finally win La Decima.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing