If Real Madrid get knocked out of the Champions League, then it could eventually lead to Carlo Ancelotti being available in the summer.
Carlo Ancelotti ain’t gonna leave Real Madrid for Manchester United this summer. That is what logic would suggest.
However, football doesn’t always follow logic and there is a chance – a very small chance – that the Italian manager could become available for next season.
The former AC Milan coach was appointed the Madrid boss only last summer after a successful 2012-13 campaign with Paris Saint-Germain that saw them win the Ligue 1 title for the first time since 1994 and also reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Ancelotti succeeded Jose Mourinho at the Santiago Bernabeu and became the latest coach to be handed the responsibility of winning Madrid their ‘La Decima’: their 10th Champions League trophy. So far the 2013-14 season has been productive: the Copa del Rey has been won, the La Liga title is within reach and one foot is already in the Champions League final.
Yet things could still go wrong between now and the end of the season, and that is what United fans should be hoping if they want to see one of the greatest tacticians of all time get the managerial role at Old Trafford.
Louis van Gaal is reported to be the frontrunner for the United job, but he is a divisive and controversial figure: an authoritarian style of management and stubbornness are traits that many United fans might find difficult in the long run.
On the other hand, Ancelotti is universally applauded for the way he manages his players and handles the media. Oh, he also knows a thing or two about tactics as well. Between 2001 and 2009 under the 54-year-old, Milan were one of the best sides to watch in Europe, winning the Champions League twice and reaching the final on another occasion. Then he went to Chelsea and won them an historic Premier League and the FA Cup double in his debut season in England. On to PSG and more success followed.
Ancelotti is under contract with Madrid until June 2016, but don’t let that fool you: the Italian could become available in the summer if Madrid sack him.
And Madrid could easily sack him – although this is unlikely, very unlikely at this moment in time. If Madrid fail to win La Liga and get knocked out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage yet again, it would denote another failed campaign for Los Blancos. President Florentino Perez has been ruthless in the past, getting rid of managers even when they delivered the goods (remember Vicente del Bosque in 2003 and Fabio Capello in 2007?). So there is really no guarantee that he won’t do the same again, especially if Ancelotti delivers just the Copa del Rey this year.
Which is why United fans should back Bayern to win tonight and progress to the Champions League final for the second year in a row. Pep Guardiola’s side are 1-0 down from the first leg of their semi-final tie played at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid last week, but will still be many people’s favourites. They have come from a one-goal deficit against Madrid in the past and they will be confident of doing the same tonight.
Failure to progress to the final will come as a bitter disappointment for Madrid fans and it could deliver a massive blow to the players, many of whom have been part of Perez’s second coming in 2009. With Atletico Madrid in pole position in La Liga, Madrid’s season that started with so much promise could eventually unravel.
If Ancelotti becomes available, then United fans should hope that they get him. His track record in England shows that he can achieve success in the Premier League and, unlike Van Gaal, he will not come with baggage. Well, not much anyway.