Head to Head Between Ancelotti and Guardiola : Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola may be at different points on the philosophical spectrum of football, but they are both considered two of the most influential managers in the history of the sport.
Both were excellent midfielders in their playing days.
Ancelotti and Guardiola won the Champions League at the turn of the 90s and both mastered the competition as coaches.
However, Guardiola’s two wins pale in comparison to Ancelotti’s four wins. After leading Real Madrid to Champions League victory in 2022, the Italian has become the most successful manager in the Champions League history.
The mutual respect between the two great soccer thinkers is evident, and their meetings as coaches show how the seesaw can tip one way or the other.
1. Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich (23rd May 2014)
Pep managed to avoid Ancelotti early in his coaching career by helping FC Barcelona win two Champions Leagues in 2009 and 2011.
His first encounter with Ancelotti came during his spell at Bayern, who faced Don Carlo’s Real in the 2013/14 Champions League semi-finals.
In the first leg, Bayern had possession of the ball but struggled in the final third. Karim Benzema gave victory to Real and Ancelotti with the only goal of the game.
2. Bayern Munich 0-4 Real Madrid (29th May 2014)
“I was wrong, man. I was totally wrong. It’s a monumental bullshit. A complete fiasco. The biggest bullshit of my coaching life”.
Guardiola doesn’t often get it wrong, but when he does, he does some serious bullshit. This time is perhaps the most memorable.
Without an away goal before the return match, Bayern had to turn the tide against Real who were going to the Allianz Arena.
After his team’s draw at the Bernabeu, Pep decided to change tactics for the second leg. The possibilities of a 3-4-3 and a 4-2-3-1 crossed his mind before he decided to go for a suicidal 4-2-4.
“You are German, so be German and attack,” Guardiola told his players before the match, feeling emotional.
The disaster happened when the Spaniard went against his ideals and gave up control of the midfield. Pep’s bravery played into Ancelotti’s hands and Real went on a rampage in Munich to hand Guardiola the biggest defeat of his coaching career.
3. Manchester City 2-1 Everton (1st January 2020)
Remember when Ancelotti was supposed to be on the decline after taking the Everton job on the heels of leaving Napoli? Seems a long way off now, doesn’t it?
Anyway, Guardiola avoided the Italian for almost six years before they met again. This time in the Premier League.
The 2019/20 season was quite a tough one for City as Liverpool won the title but Guardiola picked up his first win over Ancelotti on New Year’s Day 2020.
Gabriel Jesus scored twice for the Citizens in the second half to give the Cityzens the win despite Richarlison closing the gap.
4. Everton 1-3 Manchester City (17th February 2021)
Ancelotti’s era at Everton was light compared to what happened after he left. However, the Toffees have never lived up to the power of Pep and his men.
Manchester City returned to their best in the 2020/21 season and extended their lead at the top of the table to ten points with a 3-1 win at Goodison Park in February.
Richarlison equalized after Phil Foden’s opener but second-half goals from Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva saw the visitors bring all three points back to Manchester.
5. Everton 0-2 Manchester City (20th March 2021)
City looked equally at home when they returned to Goodison Park a month after winning the league on Merseyside.
Ancelotti beat Jose Mourinho in a thrilling FA Cup match to prepare for that quarter-final against City, but their adventure ended in the dying moments when Ilkay Gundogan headed in the 84th minute.
Kevin De Bruyne added a second goal in the last minute of regulation time and City progressed to the semi-finals.
6. Manchester City 5-0 Everton (23rd May 2021)
The Guardiola / Ancelotti duel was relegated to the background because it was Sergio Aguero who was in the spotlight.
City had already crushed Everton when the Argentine came on in the second half, and City’s all-time top scorer netted a brace in his last appearance for the club, capping a memorable career at the Etihad Stadium.
7. Manchester City 4-3 Real Madrid (26th April 2022)
Real certainly didn’t call Ancelotti following his excellent work at Goodison Park, but he knew exactly what kind of coach was needed to maximize his side’s potential.
Los Blancos had won just one La Liga title in four seasons and hadn’t lifted the Champions League since 2018 (a long drought if we look at the results at the time) when Ancelotti returned for a second term.
Italian laissez-faire worked wonders in his debut campaign, with Real winning the Spanish title and embarking on a Champions League campaign for eternity. They beat PSG and Chelsea in spectacular fashion to find themselves in the semi-finals against Pep’s City.
The Citizens should have finished far ahead after a thrilling first leg, but Real kept coming back. The hosts led 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 before a Karim Benzema panenka cut the Merengue deficit to just one goal before the second leg.
8. Real Madrid 3-1 Manchester City (4th May 2022)
City looked set to qualify for their second consecutive Champions League final when Mahrez gave them the lead 20 minutes from time.
But, once again, Ancelotti’s stoicism paid off. He brought in Rodrygo before City opened the scoring, and it was the Brazilian who initiated Real’s last comeback of this European campaign.
The winger netted twice in two minutes late in the game to take the game into stoppage time, before a Benzema penalty propelled Real to the final, where they were crowned European champions for the 14th time.
“Football is unpredictable and sometimes you have to accept that,” Guardiola said after his record sixth Champions League semi-final elimination.
9. Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester City (9th May 2023)
Two months later, Ancelotti and Guardiola face each other again in the last four of the Champions League.
First-leg hosts Real Madrid took the lead against the run of play with a superb goal from Vinicius Junior, following excellent work from Eduardo Camavinga.
Luckily for City, Kevin De Bruyne was in fine form for his most important game of the season, and he took advantage of a remission from Ilkay Gundogan to equalize with a heavy strike that damaged Thibaut Courtois’ net.
Number of Matches Played : 9
Wins for Pep Guardiola : 5
Wins for Carlo Ancelotti : 3
Draws : 1
Goals scored by Guardiola Teams : 18
Goals Scored by Ancelotti’s Teams : 14
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