Carlo Ancelotti has insisted that current holders Manchester City are the favourites to win the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League.
Man City emphatically knocked out Ancelotti's Real Madrid on their way to their maiden Champions League triumph last season, thumping them 5-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals thanks in large part to a hugely impressive 4-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.
Despite said embarrassing defeat to Man City, Real Madrid head into the 2023/24 Champions League as one of the favourites to win the trophy thanks in large part to their European pedigree - Madrid have won the competition on 14 occasions - and the signing of boy wonder Jude Bellingham.
With his five goals in five La Liga games, Bellingham has helped Madrid to a perfect start to their La Liga campaign, and they will be hoping for a similarly perfect start to their European campaign when they face off against Union Berlin on Wednesday evening.
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Speaking ahead of that game, Ancelotti was asked who he considers to be favourites to win the competition this season.
"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 said.
"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."
Ancelotti also took the time to preview his side's clash with Champions League debutants Union Berlin, hailing the "intensity" the Bundesliga side play with.
"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. 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," he added.