New Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti can be confident of bagging at least one trophy in his first season in charge at the Bernabeu, and the 2/5 on Los Blancos winning either La Liga, the Champions League, the Copa del Rey or the Europa League in 2013/2014 is not to be missed.
With Barcelona welcoming new coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino to the Camp Nou for his first season in European football management, Madrid can take advantage of the upheaval currently taking place over in Catalonia and sure-fire winner Ancelotti can add to his impressive career trophy haul.
The Italian has been joined at Madrid by young Spanish attacking midfielder Isco, whose 12 goals for hometown club Malaga last season convinced Los Merengues to part with £23m at the start of the summer and they also clearly have high hopes for Asier Illarramendi, after paying a similar amount to Real Sociedad to activate the 23-year-old defensive midfielder’s release clause.
With these additions ensuring the club has at least two top class players for each position, mounting a challenge on three fronts should not be an issue for the former Chelsea, PSG and AC Milan manager, who has won league titles in England, France and Italy as well as two Champions League’s with Milan and domestic cups with the Rossoneri and the west Londoners.
The bet also applies to the Europa League, in the unlikely scenario that Real Madrid crash out in the group stages of Europe’s elite club competition and tumble into the second-chance saloon, with teams placing third in the Champions League group stages automatically entered into the latter stages of what used to be known as the UEFA Cup.
Barcelona won La Liga by a massive 15 points last season, but with David Villa and Alexis Sanchez joining Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the list of Lionel Messi’s failed strike partners, question marks still surround new £50m signing Neymar’s role in the team and the potential for acrimony between South America’s biggest stars could scupper Tata’s hopes of a smooth transition from the reigns of Josep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova.
The Catalan club have also failed to address their obvious problems at centre-back, with 22-year-old Marc Bartra inadequate cover for captain Carlos Puyol and Javier Mascherano clearly more comfortable in midfield.