Carlo Ancelotti becomes the first coach to win Europe’s big five
Real Madrid secured their 35th LaLiga title and Carlo Ancelotti made history by becoming the first coach to win all five of Europe’s major leagues.
Real Madrid made short work of the 2021/2 LaLiga season, it was one of the few times that the club clinched the title with games to spare - only four times in history have they been crowned champions with four games left to play and three times with five games remaining. It is Madrid’s 35th LaLiga title, and Carlo Ancelotti’s first domestic league triumph in Spain. The Italian becomes the first coach in history to have won all five of what are considered the five major European leagues - he has achieved an unprecedented feat, guiding his teams to the league title in Italy, England, France, Germany and now Spain.
Ancelotti’s league titles across the continent
Carlo’s began his managerial career in his native Italy with Reggiana in the second tier. He stepped up a level 12 months on by joining Parma, with whom he took to a second-place finish in 1996/7, finishing just two points behind the champions Juventus. It would take a few seasons before Ancelotti would finally win his first league title as a coach. It arrived in 2003/4 during his third season with AC Milan - he delivered the club’s 17th Scudetto with his team topping the table for the entire second half of the campaign and finishing 11 points clear of nearest rivals Roma.
In July 2009, Carlo signed a three-year deal with Chelsea, replacing Guus Hiddink. He guided the Blues to the Premier League title in his first season, his team thrashed Wigan 8-0 on the final day to pip Manchester United to the league by just one point. Almost exactly a year later, he was on his way out of Stamford Bridge - he was sacked in May 2011 even though his side finished as runners-up in the Premier League.
He was out of work for just six months before accepting an offer to take the Paris Saint-Germain job. He took the team while they were top of Ligue 1 but by Week 29 they dropped down to second and spent the remainder of the campaign chasing eventual champions Montpellier. Ancelotti’s PSG were crowned French champions the following season, commanding an unassailable seven-point lead over Olympique Marseille with two matchdays left to play.
His first spell at Real Madrid produced La Décima and the Copa del Rey but LaLiga eluded him. His Madrid side ended the 2014/15 side on 92 points and with 118 goals - just three short of the all-time record, but even that wasn’t enough to topple Barça off top spot. For all his efforts, Carlo was ceremoniously sacked at the end of May and when club president Florentino Pérez was asked why, he replied, “I don’t know…”
After another six months out of the game, Ancelotti was approached by Bayern Munich to take over from Pep Guardiola. He won the Bundesliga in his first season in charge - the league was wrapped up by April with Bayern concluding their campaign with a massive 15-point margin over second-placed Leipzig.
Ancelotti returned to Madrid in the summer of 2021 after stints at Napoli and Everton. Once again he delivered the league title in his first season and with games to spare.
He is the only coach to have a complete collection of winners’ medals from Serie A, the Premier League, Ligue 1, the Bundesliga and LaLiga.
Ancelotti compared to Europe’s other historic coaches
Ancelotti is the only coach to have won the Big 5 but other coaches have won multiple league title in different countries. Giovanni Trapattoni won a total of eight titles including one outside his native Italy - six with Juventus, one with Inter, and one with Bayern Munich almost a decade later in Germany. He also guided Benfica and RB Salzburg to the Portuguese and Austrian titles respectively in later years.
Fabio Capello, another Italian tactician, led teams to seven championships, this time in Serie A with Milan and LaLiga with Real Madrid. Not to mention the two with Juve that were later infamously stripped.
Jose Mourinho is also a hugely successful, well-travelled coach. Among his long list of honours is the Portuguese Primeira Liga (twice with Porto), the Premier League (three times with Chelsea), Serie A (twice with Inter Milan) and LaLiga, in 2011/12 with Real Madrid.
One other factor to take into account is that these comparisons have been made based on the ‘big five’ of recent times. In previous decades the likes of the Portuguese, Dutch and Scottish leagues all had their moments.