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The 53-year-old thinks the Spanish giants will be the ones to beat this year, but believes that his countrymen could also lead Manchester City and Zenit St Petersburg to glory

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Carlo Ancelotti believes Barcelona and Real Madrid are the favourites to win this season's Champions League, but also backed some of his fellow Italians to get the best out of their respective sides.

The Liga giants both reached the semi-final stage last time around and will be pushing to go at least one step further this year.

However, Ancelotti does suspect that Pep Guardiola's absence at Camp Nou makes the Catalan club more vulnerable than in previous years.

"Two clubs stand out: Barcelona and Real Madrid," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Barcelona are strong even without Guardiola in charge, but they seem less aggressive and slightly less focused in defence now. They look more vulnerable than in previous seasons."

And the ex-AC Milan boss believes Italian-coached clubs Zenit St Petersburg and Manchester City could also be ones to watch this season.

"Zenit, coached by [Luciano] Spalletti, and Manchester City, coached by [Roberto] Mancini could surprise people," the former Serie A coach added.

"Even though City have been drawn in a tough group, with Real Madrid."

Backed by his Parc des Princes owners, Ancelotti has embarked on quite the spending spree this summer, signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Lucas Moura among others.

"I thank them [the owners] for having done that," the Italian continued. "I'll do everything I can to get them to win trophies.

"Our objective is clear: winning the league in France, getting through the group stage of the Champions League and then, who knows?"

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