Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti is the most successful manager in UEFA Champions League history. The Italian coach has won the European trophy four times in his managerial career. 

The 62-year-old, who has also won two UCL titles as a player, is the only manager to win the continental championship four times.

Carlo Ancelotti’s UEFA Champions League trophies

Carlo Ancelotti has won the UEFA Champions League four times - 2003, 2007, 2014 and 2022. While the first two triumphs came with AC Milan, the next two were with Spanish giants Real Madrid.

The 2003 success and eventual disappointment

Ancelotti’s first taste of Champions League success came in 2003 when his AC Milan dream team defeated fellow Serie A side Juventus in the final. A match that went goalless in regulation time was decided through penalties. David Trezeguet, Marcelo Zalayeta and Paolo Montero faltered for Juve as Milan won the game 3-2 on penalties.

Two years later, in 2005, the same Milam team lost the UCL final to Liverpool in what is now considered as one of the finest comebacks in football history. 

Goals from Paolo Maldini and Hernan Crespo had put Milan 3-0 up within the opening 45 minutes. While the first period was all Milan, Liverpool turned the tides within six minutes, with goals from Steven Gerrard, Vladimír Smicer and Xabi Alonso making it 3-3.

The game once again went to penalties where a certain Jerzy Dudek proved out to be the messiah as Milan went home without the honour.

Ancelotti completed his retribution in 2007 when the two met in the 2006-07 final. This time around, Milan managed to hold on to their 2-1 lead and the game ended in regulation time.

Carlo Ancelotti’s double with Real Madrid

His first season with Real Madrid started the Galacticos’ dominance in European football to an extent that between 2014 and 2022, the team has won five UEFA Champions League titles. 

The 2013-14 UCL final is particularly remembered for Sergio Ramos’s injury-time equalizer against Atletico Madrid. Real went on to win the final 4-1 in extra time. 

After a brief tour around Europe, the Italian returned to Madrid in 2022 and guided the team to their 14th European title, once again beating Liverpool in the final.

Before the 2021-22 triumph, Ancelotti was one among three managers to have won the UCL title three times as a coach. Former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley won the title in 1977, 1978 and 1981 while Zinedine Zidane did the same with Real Madrid in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Meanwhile, as many as 17 different managers have won the Champions League two times. This includes Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.

Most successful managers in UEFA Champions League history

Manager Titles Years Team(s)
Carlo Ancelotti 4 2003, 2007, 2014, 2022 Milan, Real Madrid
Bob Paisley 3 1977, 1978, 1981 Liverpool
Zinedine Zidane 3 2016, 2017, 2018 Real Madrid
José Villalonga 2 1956, 1957 Real Madrid
Luis Carniglia 2 1958, 1959 Real Madrid
Bela Guttmann 2 1961, 1962 Benfica
Helenio Herrera 2 1964, 1965 Inter
Miguel Munoz 2 1960, 1966 Real Madrid
Nereo Rocco 2 1963, 1969 Milan
Stefan Kovacs 2 1972, 1973 Ajax
Dettmar Cramer 2 1975, 1976 Bayern Munich
Brian Clough 2 1979, 1980 Nottingham Forest
Ernst Happel 2 1970, 1983 Feyenoord, Hamburg
Arrigo Sacchi 2 1989, 1990 Milan
Ottmar Hitzfeld 2 1997, 2001 Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich
Vicente del Bosque 2 2000, 2002 Real Madrid
Alex Ferguson 2 1999, 2008 Manchester United
Jose Mourinho 2 2004, 2010 Porto, Inter
Jupp Heynckes 2 1998, 2013 Real Madrid, Bayern Munich
Pep Guardiola 2 2009, 2011 Barcelona

Featured photo: AFP / Anne-Christine Poujoulat