Defending champions have not managed to hold on to the Champions League title since 1990, and veteran Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti explains why this is the case.
The Italian has won the coveted title twice as a player with AC Milan, and three times as a manager, twice again with Milan and most recently as he led Real Madrid to La Decima in 2013-14.
The Italian played for the last team that managed to successfully defend the European title in 1990, and after Barcelona crashed out to Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals this week, Ancelotti spoke about the Champions League ‘curse’. He believes that a club have not managed to win the title twice in a row because of the competitiveness and sheer number of teams involved since the European Cup was revamped in 1992.
“I think it’s difficult to win the Champions League because now the Champions League is more and more competitive compared to the past,” he said, according to Goal.
“When we won it in 1989 and 1990 there were not a lot of games to reach the final and to win, and not a lot of teams.
“In the past, there was only one team for each country who could play in the Champions League and now there are three or four teams from each country. Because of this, it is more competitive and more difficult to win it.”
One game decided the fate of the mighty Barcelona
For the majority of their campaign, it looked certain that this Barcelona team would finally manage to break the Champions League curse and successfully defend the title they won in 2014-15. However, Atletico Madrid defied probability and predictions, as they sent Barca packing with a 2-0 win at the Vicente Calderon.
The Blaugrana had remained undefeated prior to this loss, and all it took to see them out was one game, thus proving Ancelotti’s words to be true. 24 different teams have won the Champions League since AC Milan defended their European title in 1990, but none have managed to repeat the feat.