Ancelotti in the spotlight as wounded Real Madrid takes on Chelsea

carlo ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti better understands than anyone else how events swiftly at Real Madrid can change.

Real were pleased after their incredible comeback against Paris Saint-Germain. They had crushed a financially capable opponent, nullified Lionel Messi, and, many believed, convinced Kylian Mbappe to join the Spanish Giant. They are now on the brink of winning La Liga and seemed to be favorites in the Champions League as well.

Three weeks later, courtesy of a sloppy, but morale-boosting, 2-1 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday, the league lead is still intact (April 2). Ancelotti’s reputation, on the other hand, has all but vanished.

After testing positive for Covid-19 last week, Real was on high hope until Tuesday to see if their coach would be eligible to go to the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea on Wednesday.

The result of the match might determine whether or not he stays on as coach next season.

It explains a lot about the impact of the Clasico match when eight months of generally outstanding effort can be almost totally wiped in 90 minutes.

Ancelotti has been lambasted for his counter-attacking style, lack of rotation, and, most significantly, the manner of Real’s sluggish first-leg loss to PSG, but a dominant stance in La Liga has generally held the naysayers at bay.

However, Real’s 4-0 loss to Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu, when Real could simply have conceded six or seven goals, has raised concern, not least since that outcome acted as a preview of what was to come.

Barca is 12 points adrift of Real in the rankings with a game in hand, but Xavi Hernandez’s strong youthful side is ending the season as Spain’s best team.

The Clasico defeat suggests that winning La Liga may no longer be enough for Ancelotti. The first year of Ancelotti’s second term will be defined by how they win the championship with eight games to play and how they perform versus Chelsea.

While Real president Florentino Perez told Ancelotti that his job was secure during the international break, the necessity for conversations remained critical. When Real terminated Ancelotti a year after winning the Champions League, he subsequently confessed that the minute he was told to see Perez, he realized his days were numbered.


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