Real Madrid will retain the Champions Leugue, says Schmeichel

EXCLUSIVE: The legendary Dane believes that Carlo Ancelotti has bought well over the summer and are in a strong position to claim the trophy once more

By Marko Sorli

Real Madrid will become the first team to retain the Champions League in its current format, according to Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side delivered the club’s 10th European Cup last term, beating city rivals Atletico 4-1 in the final after extra-time.

No team has won the competition in consecutive seasons since Uefa rebranded it in 1992-93 but the Danish goalkeeper believes the current holders have as good a chance as anyone.

“Real Madrid will be the first team to claim two Champions League trophies in a row,” he told Goal.

“They look great. [Cristiano] Ronaldo is in great form, James [Rodriguez] and [Toni] Kroos are great signings.”

Schmeichel went on to say that football has become less centred around individual stars than in his era but highlighted Ronaldo and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi as two standout game-changers.

“Football has changed. There are no more Zvonimir Bobans or individuals who win games by themselves. Messi and Ronaldo are two exceptions but they are also part of strong teams with good cover in other positions as well.

“Look at Italy, for example. People say that Andrea Pirlo is the main player and that everything goes through him, but that’s an illusion.

“Pirlo is a brilliant player, but doesn’t dominate Italy’s play as much as people say.”

Schmeichel also picked out Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer as the world’s leading goalkeeper in the current era.

“Neuer is the world’s number one keeper and can be used as a role model for all young keepers. He has everything a goalkeeper needs to have.”

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