Carlo Ancelotti wants to keep Real Madrid job but prepared for dismissal
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti says he would like to keep his job for next season, although he realises that senior figures at the club may already have decided to replace him.
With Madrid finishing the season without winning a major trophy Ancelotti is widely expected to be relieved of his duties in the coming weeks, despite delivering the Champions League and Copa del Rey titles during his first campaign in charge in 2013-14.
Club president Florentino Perez is reportedly already considering who to appoint as his 10th coach during 12 years in charge, with current Napoli boss Rafael Benitez believed to be the frontrunner.
The pregame news conference ahead of Madrid's final game of the season at home to Getafe on Saturday was dominated by talk of Ancelotti's future, with the Italian saying he hoped to remain in the job but was aware he might not.
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"We have not spoken yet. I've not spoken with club, or them with me," Ancelotti said. "I am still thinking as Real Madrid coach, until the club tell me any different. After the game, or on Sunday or Monday, we will meet and talk about the future. My feeling is that I will stay, I would like to continue, am motivated to do so as I like this club, these players."
In response to further questions about his future, Ancelotti added that as an experienced football man, he would move on without complaints if the club did decide to part with him.
"It is a moment when the club will make a decision, an important decision," he said. "I have a good relationship with the club, and will still have it if they decide on a new coach. It is not such a big thing for me. I am happy to continue if that happens, I would like that, but if not I'm happy with my two years here.
"If not I will take my path, and the club their path. But I will always remember two fantastic years -- including maybe the happiest moment in Madrid's history [winning the club's 10th European Cup last season]. So I would not think about being sad, but happy at giving everything I could. After that, these are things that can happen in football."
Ancelotti said that apparent leaks to the local media which named former Madrid player and youth coach Benitez as the prime candidate to replace him were not frustrating to see as it is part of football.
"If there is talk of other coaches, I am not annoyed, that is normal," he said. "There is always lots of talks, lots of names, every year. I am surprised that anybody is surprised by this. Everyone has their opinion, thinks they can coach. Some people think my work is good, others that I could have done better. That is what's great about this world."
Support for him to stay on from players including vice-captain Sergio Ramos and Marcelo was appreciated, but should not influence the club's final decision, Ancelotti added.
"I appreciate what the players say, I have always had a good relationship with them," he said. "But this is not their decision, the club must make the call. Personal feelings of the players should not intervene in a decision the club must make."
Asked whether he would like a quick decision on his future, Ancelotti was again typically diplomatic.
"I have no hurry to go on holidays," he said. "When everything is cleared up, then I will go on holidays."
The Italian's analysis of the season was that a spate of injuries which hit the squad in the early part of 2015 had derailed what until then had been a fantastic campaign.
"We have had two different seasons," he said. "Until December it was better than anybody thought. We broke records, won the European Super Cup and World Club Cup. February cost us a lot -- the draw with Villarreal, the loss in Athletic Bilbao. That hurt us at the end of the season, although we fought until the end."
The former Italy international said that after analysing the physical preparation methods for the season, he would only tweak his plan should he and his staff remain at the Santiago Bernabeu next term.
"We have analysed what happened in this period, during the low points," he said. "It could be that we need to change something, some small details. Some people say we worked too little in February, we say too much. So it is not big things. I still think that my philosophy, my way of working, is the right way to do things. I have the best staff in the world, best physical preparation coach and best goalkeeping coach."
Asked about long-serving club captain Iker Casillas -- who could also have his last game at the Santiago Bernabeu against Getafe on Saturday -- Ancelotti said there had been no pact between the pair regarding an emotional send-off.
"Iker did not ask me [to play]," he said. "It was a decision I made after talking to him and Keylor [Navas]. Keylor played at Espanyol, and Iker will play the last game. Iker wants to stay, and if he does I believe in the end everyone will be happy."