Real Madrid have been crowned LaLiga champions for the 35th time after a 4-0 win against Espanyol at the Bernabeu saw Spanish football’s most decorated team add the 2021-22 title to their collection.
Los Blancos took a vast 15-point lead into the weekend and required just one point to render the gap between them and the chasing pack mathematically unassailable.
The result also saw coach Carlo Ancelotti break new ground by becoming the first manager in history to win championships in all of Europe’s top five leagues.
The 62-year-old Italian had already made history earlier this month when he reached the semifinals of the Champions League in a fourth different decade as a manager — a total that goes up to five if you include his career as a player — and now he has further augmented his status as one of European football’s true greats.
An interesting facet of Ancelotti’s achievement is that he has won each of the five major European league championships as a coach on just one occasion, and as such he cannot claim to have the most number of overall title wins among his peers (more on that later ).
Here’s how Ancelotti secured his historic first with a run of titles that began almost 20 years ago.
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The first league title of Ancelotti’s managerial career came with AC Milan in 2003-04 when he successfully guided the Rossoneri to glory for their first Shield since 1998-99. Ancelotti’s side — who had won the first of two Champions League crowns under his management the previous season — managed to win the league by an impressive margin of 11 points over second-place Roma, who scored three more goals and conceded five fewer than Milano.
Ancelotti was appointed as manager of Chelsea in July 2009, the very day after ending his long association with Milan having overseen an underwhelming third-place finish in Serie A. He delivered the Premier League title in his maiden campaign, though the race went right down to the final day. In the end, the Blues pipped rivals Manchester United by a single point with an 8-0 drubbing of Wigan Athletic that also saw them set a new league record for goals scored in a single season (103). Ancelotti led the club to their first-ever double six days later by beating Portsmouth in the FA Cup final, but his tenure only lasted until the end of the following season.
Ancelotti spent less than 18 months in charge at Paris Saint-Germain from December 2011 to May 2013 and yet still found time to claim the Ligue 1 title in his first and only full season at the helm. He took over from the deposited Antoine Kombouare and finished runner-up behind Montpellier in his first few months at the Parc des Princes before going one better in 2012-13 and tying up the first championship under the club’s Qatari ownership with two matches to spare.
After a two-year spell in charge at Real Madrid in which he won his third Champions League title, and Real’s long-awaited 10th, Ancelotti was appointed as Bayern Munich coach for the 2016-17 season. He replaced Pep Guardiola, who departed having won three titles in as many seasons in Germany. Ancelotti maintained the standard and brought the Meisterschale back to the Allianz Arena for a fifth consecutive year, with his side at the top of the table for all but three game weeks of the season. However, he only made it in the job until September of the following season, when he was fired in the wake of a 3-0 loss to form club PSG in the Champions League.
Ancelotti claimed « La Decima« during his first spell at the Bernabeu from 2013 to 2015 but lost out to Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in his two league title races. However, he was handed a chance at redemption when he was poached from Everton and reappointed by Los Blancos in June 2021 to replace Zinedine Zidane and, just 10 months later, he earned it. 4-0 against Espanyol made certain of Real’s first LaLiga crown since 2019-20 and only their third in the past decade.
Other coaches who could win titles in top five leagues
While Ancelotti is out on his own in terms of titles in different major European leagues, there are several other vastly successful managers still active in the game who could conceivably equal or better his pan-continental record before they retire:
9 major European titles in total:
Premier League: 3 (Manchester City)
LaLiga: 3 (Barcelona)
Bundesliga: 3 (Bayern Munich)
Premier League: 3 (Chelsea)
Serie A: 2 (Inter Milano)
La Liga: 1 (Real Madrid)
Serie A: 6 (Juventus, AC Milan)
Serie A: 4 (Juventus, Inter Milan)
Premier League: 1 (Chelsea)
Serie A: 3
Premier League: 1
Premier League: 1