Champions League: Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti ‘not surprised’ holders are ‘underdogs’


Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti is “not surprised” the bookmakers make his holders only fifth favourites to win this season’s Champions League.

Bayern Munich, Paris St-Germain, Manchester City and Liverpool are all more fancied as Real open their defence against Celtic in Group F on Tuesday. Ancelotti was reminded that the 14-time European champions were also considered “underdogs” last season. “If anything, it is a good sign,” the Italian replied. “We don’t mind being the underdogs and, if anything, we’ve improved.”

Veteran Brazil full-back Marcelo was among a handful of summer departures, while only France midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni and Germany centre-half Antonio Rudiger have arrived from Monaco and Chelsea respectively. However, Madrid already lead La Liga by two points after four straight victories, including a 2-1 defeat of early challengers Real Betis on Saturday.

Ancelotti’s side visit a Celtic side who themselves have won all seven of their domestic games this season, culminating in a 4-0 dismissal of closest rivals Rangers, and he dismissed the suggestion that the draw had been kind to his side.


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