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    Saturday, May 20, 2023

    Ancelotti to Stay at Real Madrid Despite City Loss and Brazil Opening

    Carlo Ancelotti says he will finish his contract with Real Madrid despite their defeat in the Champions League semifinals and with rumors swirling that Brazil would love the Italian to become its next coach.

    “I have a contract until June 2024 and the club has already guaranteed I will see out my contract. Everyone knows that’s exactly what I want to do,” Ancelotti said on Saturday in his first news conference since he spoke immediately after Manchester City routed his Madrid 4-0 this week to reach the final 5-1 on aggregate.

    That stinging defeat fueled speculation that perhaps Ancelotti’s second stint at Madrid was near its end. Madrid has won the Copa del Rey, the Club World Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup this season, but it lost the Spanish league title to Barcelona and failed to defend its Champions League crown.

    Meanwhile, Brazil is apparently ready to embrace the 63-year-old Ancelotti, the only coach to have won four European Cups after winning it twice with AC Milan and Madrid.

    Ancelotti’s contract with Madrid lasts until the end of next season but speculation about his potential departure increased after Brazil said it was interested in hiring him to replace Tite. Brazil has been without a manager since the end of the World Cup, and the Brazilian Football Confederation hinted it was willing to wait until the end of the European season to hire its next coach.

    Madrid president Florentino Pérez also has no trouble firing coaches who don’t reach the 14-time European champion’s incredibly demanding standard for success. Pérez cut Ancelotti’s first stint short in 2015, just a year after he led Madrid to Champions League title No. 10.

    Ancelotti said on Friday he has received renewed backing from Pérez.

    “We spoke yesterday, as we do most weeks. We had a meeting, assessed the match and he showed me his affection and support,” the coach said. “We also spoke about the last couple of seasons and we will continue moving forward with the same or greater hunger to do a good job.”

    Ancelotti admitted the lopsided loss to City left its mark on a team that in the previous season proven unbeatable after pulling off comebacks in the Champions League knockout rounds.

    “It is a painful elimination, but it’s a semifinal, it wasn’t in the group stages or the round of 16,” he said. “We’re hurting but you can always come up against a team in better shape who deserve to win. We congratulate Manchester City because those are the values of this club. Now we have to look forward and at the next Champions League campaign.”

    Regardless of his coach, Pérez and his club have some big decisions to make about some players who have been critical to the team for the past decade.

    Karim Benzema, Luka Modric — both Ballon d’Or winners — along with Toni Kroos and Marco Asensio all finish their contracts at the end of June.

    Ancelotti could say only that the club and his veterans were talking about their futures. He seemed to indicate the players have received offers for new deals from the club.

    “They are being dealt with seriously and professionally,” he said. “There are talks ongoing with the club, they will make the decisions they see fit. It’s in the players’ court right now and everything will be cleared up at the end of the season.”

    Ancelotti spoke in the capital a day ahead of Madrid’s game at Valencia. Madrid is playing for a second-place finish behind champion Barcelona. -AP

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