Real Madrid’s Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti attends a press conference at the Real Madrid City training complex near Madrid in May (PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU)
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti moved Thursday to tamp down discussion of his possible future move to the Brazilian national team, saying he was focused on the Spanish giants and their upcoming season.
“I will never talk about Brazil, about what is going to happen,” the Italian told reporters in Los Angeles, where Real Madrid will play the first of four US friendlies on Sunday against AC Milan at the Rose Bowl.
“I am the coach of Real Madrid and I am staying here,” Ancelotti insisted, two weeks after Brazilian Confederation president Ednaldo Rodrigues indicated Ancelotti was poised to become the first foreigner in almost 60 years to coach the Selecao after his Real Madrid contract expires.
That would put the Italian at the helm in time for the Copa America in the United States from June 2024, but Ancelotti said for him the subject was closed.
“I will never talk about this matter again,” he said, noting that he had a contract with Real Madrid “until June 30, 2024”.
Ancelotti also declined to comment on Madrid’s chances of signing French star Kylian Mbappe, who is involved in a contract dispute with Paris Saint-Germain.
Mbappe “is a player who is not at Madrid,” he noted. “To talk about players who are not here, it doesn’t seem right to me.”
Ancelotti did discuss his plans for dealing with the departure of Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, who last month inked a three-year deal with Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia.
He said he would experiment with a system that exploits the attacking potential of signings such as England’s Jude Bellingham and Turkey’s Arda Guler.
Even though an elite direct replacement for Benzema has yet to arrive, Ancelotti said he was satisfied with how the Real Madrid squad has come together for next season.
“For me, the squad has improved,” he said. “We have lost a player who has been fundamental for years in Karim, whom we wish the best and who has been a club legend. But we have a very young group that we are convinced will give us a lot of satisfaction,” he said.
After the press conference, Ancelotti led the first practice on the University of California at Los Angeles, where several hundred fans turned out to welcome the team.
On July 26 the team travel to Texas to face Manchester United in Houston before a Clasico against Barcelona in Dallas on July 29.
Before returning to Spain, Madrid will face Juventus in Orlando, Florida, on August 2.