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Carlo Ancelotti: 'I thought European Super League was a joke'

:Headline: Carlo Ancelotti: 'I thought European Super League was a joke':
The six Premier League clubs involved all received a hostile response to the controversial plans from their own fans.
Sports Mole

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti first thought the European Super League announcement could have been a joke, but hopes the fall-out might lead to long-lasting reform of elite club competitions.

Merseyside rivals Liverpool were among six Premier League clubs to collectively announce on Sunday night they had signed an agreement to form a new competition with leading sides from Italy and Spain.

However, the response from supporters and the wider footballing world was almost completely negative to the extent that, by Tuesday evening, the Reds – as well as Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – withdrew from the process.

AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid have also pulled out, leaving just Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus of the original 12 clubs involved in the breakaway competition.

Ancelotti has extensive experience of life at European football’s biggest clubs, having managed the likes of Juve, Paris St Germain, Bayern Munich and Chelsea, as well as guiding both Milan (twice) and Real to Champions League success.

And the 61-year-old Italian believes common ground can be found to help move European football’s top club competition forward.

“My immediate reaction was they are joking, ‘Is it a joke?’,” he said.

“They wanted to build a competition without sporting merit. This is not acceptable because in our culture, we were brought up to have sporting merit. They were wrong – full stop.

Carlo Ancelotti has managed at some of Europe’s leading clubs (Nick Potts/PA)

“I think that the Super League as they proposed it is impossible, but a new way of Champions League I think (can be achieved).

“I think in 2024 there will be a new format for the Champions League and on there I think that they can talk and find the best solution to have this competition more and more exciting and competitive.

“Every one of us wants the Champions League to be more competitive. It gets exciting from March. It could be exciting from September.

“The new format will be better, it will be more exciting from the beginning, but I think that the 12 clubs were not happy about that. If they were happy, they could accept this.”

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, meanwhile, criticised the reforms made to the Champions League earlier this week, branding the new-look competition as the “lesser of two evils” in comparison to the Super League.

The new format, which is set to start in 2024, will see teams compete in one 36-team league – instead of the current system where 32 sides are split into eight pools of four – and guarantee each club 10 matches on a seeded basis, four more than exists now.

Gundogan said on Twitter: “With all the Super League stuff going on… can we please also speak about the new Champions League format? More and more and more games, is no one thinking about us players?

“The new UCL format is just the lesser of the two evils in comparison to the Super League…”

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