Carlo Ancelotti believes Paris Saint-Germain can beat Real Madrid on Wednesday – and are capable of winning the Champions League this season.
PSG have been eliminated at the quarter-final stage for the past three years but Ancelotti, who led the French club to the Ligue 1 title in 2013, feels les Parisiens are improving rapidly with each passing campaign.
The former Madrid boss thinks that the summer signing of Angel Di Maria from Manchester United has edged Laurent Blanc’s side even closer to realising their dream of a first European Cup success.
“It’s difficult to say who will win on Wednesday, really hard, but with home advantage, maybe PSG could have a little more ball possession,” Ancelotti told Goal. “But Real will have the possibility to take advantage on the break.
“It will certainly be a real spectacle; really unpredictable. But I believe that it will be a very even game, especially this one in Paris, particularly because PSG have a very precise identity.
“They have a very controlled possession-based game, with players that are able to finish with a lot of quality.
“But they’re facing Madrid, who can hit them very well on the counterattack.
“Real Madrid have a history, a tradition, an experience that PSG don’t have, and this counts in the Champions League. This can still make the difference.
“But PSG are accumulating more and more experience. The Parisian club are developing very quickly and they are doing that through the signing of players of great international experience.
“Last year, they bought David Luiz; this year, Di Maria – this is a squad that is improving rapidly.
“I see PSG doing well in this season’s Champions League. They are already practically qualified for the next round after winning their first two games [against Malmo and Shakhtar Donetsk].
“Much will depend on the draw [for the last 16] to determine if they are able to go forward or not. But, with a little bit of good luck, I believe that this team can go all the way.”
Having coached both clubs, Ancelotti has first-hand experience of working with two men who are likely to play a big part in Wednesday’s clash at the Parc des Princes, PSG talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo.