BARCELONA - Carlo Ancelotti's record-breaking Real Madrid side are sweeping aside all before them with a brand of counter-attacking football that could see the Spanish giants eclipse the achievements of Pep Guardiola's Barcelona.
Ahead of the Champions League final in May, Ancelotti's position at Real was far from secure after the side finished third in La Liga, but beating Atletico Madrid to claim their 10th European crown cemented his place in the club's history.
With the pressure off, Real have sparkled and their 4-0 victory over Ludogorets Razgrad on Tuesday saw them become the first Spanish team to win 19 matches in succession, going one better than Frank Rijkaard's Barcelona side in 2005-06. "The results have been achieved by hard work and professionalism," Ancelotti told reporters.
"It is not easy to maintain the motivation and desire but we will continue this way and prepare for games in the best way." Real qualified from Group B with a 100 per cent record and now have nine consecutive victories in the Champions League.
Ancelotti has forged a winning mentality and through his affable nature, healed the rifts that were part of life in the Real dressing room under predecessor Jose Mourinho.
"The relationship with my players is very good. They are very important to me and I take every opportunity I can to thank them," the Italian added.
"Our present situation can only come about if all components come together. I have felt a lot of support from the club also in September when things were not going well for us."
Guardiola's Barcelona will go down in history for their success and the way that they played the game. With their short-passing football, they won two Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles in a four-year spell.
However, playing a counter-attacking style based on pace and the remarkable skills of Cristiano Ronaldo, this Real team has the potential to be one of the all-time greats and possibly surpass the achievements of Guardiola's side.
"At the moment, we need to concentrate on continuing to win," fullback Alvaro Arbeloa told reporters. "It is important to keep this run going and we have some difficult matches ahead. We are relaxed about these kinds of records and we know that at the end of the season people may or may not remember them depending on what we achieve."