Carlo Ancelotti has reiterated his desire to return to the helm of a top club next season, saying an offer to become Italy coach would not appeal to him right now.
The Italian has been out of work since being sacked by Bayern Munich in October. He has spent much of his time in Vancouver, but returned to London this week to take in some Premier League matches, while he also intends to watch the battle of two of his former clubs — Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain — in the Champions League.
Speaking to Italian newspaper Il Corriere dello Sport, the 58-year-old spoke of how he hopes to have the chance to win the Champions League next season, speculating that at least one of Europe’s leading clubs will be changing their coach this summer.
As a result, he does not necessarily want to be considered when the Italian FA (FIGC) get round to appointing their new coach.
“My reply is this: the federation, with the help of CONI [Italian Olympic Committee], needs to create a new structure,” he said when asked about succeeding Giampiero Ventura as Italy coach. “After this, they will take a decision, and I am sticking to my idea that clarity is needed first, even if my objective remains to coach a club.
“Which one? I don’t know yet — it’s all wide open. We’ve got to wait at least a few months. Now the Champions League returns and, unless they change the rules, there’s only going to be one team who wins it, so what will the others do?”
Ancelotti expects Manchester City to go all the way in Europe this season, saying that they play the most aesthetically pleasing football. However, he says that as many as nine sides in with a serious chance.
“City are the nicest to watch and have the best chances of winning it,” Ancelotti said. “But we all know the Champions League well and whatever you say today can be proven wrong tomorrow. It’s a competition where there really are so many details that count and you need just one injury on the eve of a match and a game becomes complicated.
“Let’s say that right now, City are favourites. Compared to the past, it’s going to be even harder for everybody to win the Champions League for one simple reason: everybody is getting better.
“As a result, there are more candidates to win it. There used to be four or five sides: the two Spaniards [Barcelona and Real Madrid], Manchester United, Bayern Munich and, more recently, Juventus.
“Now you can add two or three English sides and PSG. If you just think that we have Real Madrid-PSG in the last 16 already, then you realise how hard it is for everybody.”
That includes Juve, who have reached two of the past three finals, but come up against a strong Tottenham Hotspur team with one player in particular who has caught Ancelotti’s eye.
“Their objective, of reaching the final in Kiev, is going to be harder this year,” he said. “There’s a stronger field. Juve’s strength is their defence, which is solid and consistent – this is Juve.
“They are a side who very rarely get a game wrong, never mind have a bad period. Whenever they have some problems on the field, they always find a result, which is exactly what is happening now. But it’s not going to be easy against Tottenham.
“Harry Kane is one of the best forwards in Europe, like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe. The real revelation is [Mohamed] Salah.”