Football

Manchester City favourites to win Champions League, says Madrid boss Ancelotti

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Real Madrid never consider themselves favourites to win the Champions League despite their rich history in the competition, manager Carlo Ancelotti said on Tuesday as he singled out holders Manchester City as the bookmakers’ pick.

Madrid, who won a record-extending 14th European Cup in 2022 but lost to City in the semi-finals last season, open their Group C campaign at home to Union Berlin on Wednesday.

They will also face Serie A champions Napoli and Portuguese side Braga in the group stage.

“City are favourites because they have a squad that saw them win it last season and they haven’t changed much. However in the Champions League, like always, there are surprises at the end,” Ancelotti told reporters ahead of facing Union at the Bernabeu.

“Real Madrid are a team that are going to fight until the end. We never think of ourselves as favourites, just as I think City don’t. They won it last year, they can win the Champions League.”

Real may be taking on Champions League debutants Union, but Ancelotti stressed they would not take the Germans lightly.

“They’re a new team in the Champions League but the fact they’re here means they’ve done very well. They’re well organised defensively, they’re solid and they play with intensity…,” he said.

“The Champions League is a special competition for us. We’re going to treat tomorrow’s game as something special. We want to get off to a good start in the group stage and we’re playing at home.”

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