Bayern Munich manager Carlo Ancelotti says the lack of relegation in Major League Soccer "hurts" teams' motivation to succeed.
Ancelotti has spent his entire career in Europe, managing a number of top clubs, but he was married in Vancouver in 2014 and has since visited the Whitecaps to experience MLS.
And in an interview this month with ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti, Ancelotti said he accepted the differences in the North American league but questioned the affects of a system where clubs' top-flight status is assured.
"I think the fact that there is no relegation hurts, because it's demotivating," Ancelotti said. "It's inevitable.
"I'd watch Vancouver and they weren't doing well but, hey, what changes if they finish last? They don't get relegated, they still get paid... But that's the structure of U.S. sports and you have to respect it."
MLS has long resisted calls to implement the system of promotion and relegation common in most of the world's top league. Commissioner Don Garber said in December the league has found success by following the example of other U.S. sports leagues that also feature a closed structure.
Ancelotti also noted that the MLS system leads to a more level playing field.
"I spent a lot of time in Canada last year and watched a lot of MLS," he said. "It's different, it's a different approach, the way everything is structured is geared towards a spectacle, towards parity, rather than flat-out dog-eat-dog competition."
The Bayern boss also said he would not advise top players to leave Europe while still in their primes, as his fellow Italian Sebastian Giovinco did by joining Toronto FC at age 27 in 2015.
"I think as long as you can stay at or near the top of the football world, that's what you do," Ancelotti said. "And right now, the pinnacle is right here in Europe."