Carlo Ancelotti has named Zlatan Ibrahimovic as one of the world's top three players but says the striker's "huge contract" with Paris Saint-Germain means he is unlikely to join Real Madrid.
Ibrahimovic, 32, had been linked with a move to the Bernabeu along with Ancelotti when the Italian coach left the Parc des Princes for the Spanish capital last summer. However, last season's Ligue 1 top scorer recently signed a one-year contract extension through to 2016, an agreement which also reportedly upped his net annual salary to 15 million euros.
The Sweden captain was named on the 23-man longlist for the 2013 Ballon d'Or on Tuesday, with his recent form leading some to suggest he could be a late contender for the award.
Despite the close relationship he enjoys with the player he coached at PSG, Ancelotti told Cadena Cope a reunion at the Santiago Bernabeu would probably remain a pipe dream.
"For me, the three best players in the world are Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic," he said. "But I can't bring him in. He has a huge contract with PSG, and I don't think he wants to leave."
In the past Ibrahimovic has courted controversy, and was scathing in his criticism of his former coach at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola, in his autobiography.
However, Ancelotti had nothing but praise for the player who helped him claim PSG's first French title since 1994 last term.
"I've never had any problem with him," Ancelotti said. "He's a great player with a lot of desire, he wants to win everything. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is very focused, very professional. I love players that are as focused as him."