Carlo Ancelotti has denied speculation linking him with a sensational return to Chelsea as the club’s new manager. The Real Madrid boss categorically ruled out going back to Stamford Bridge in a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against the Blues.
Ancelotti managed Chelsea between 2009 and 2011, guiding the club to a Premier League and FA Cup double in his first season. However, the Italian insisted he is focused on Madrid and not interested in a Chelsea comeback.
“Again?” Ancelotti said with a smile when asked if he would consider becoming Chelsea manager again. “I am sad [to see Chelsea struggle], yes. I have fantastic memories of this club and the people that are still working there. I am a supporter of Chelsea, of course. Because I spent two really nice years there. “Be back? No. I hope that [Frank] Lampard is able to do a fantastic job with them.”
Lampard, one of Ancelotti’s former Chelsea players, is in temporary charge after Graham Potter’s sacking last month. The Blues have won just three of their last 10 games in all competitions and sit 12th in the Premier League, fuelling speculation Chelsea’s new owners are sounding out potential managerial targets.
While Carlo Ancelotti ruled himself out, his Madrid side are preparing to face a Chelsea team in disarray. The clubs have contested some memorable Champions League ties in recent years, with Chelsea knocking Madrid out on the way to winning the title in 2021 before Los Blancos gained revenge last season.
However, Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger acknowledged these latest meetings will be very different. Rudiger joined Madrid from Chelsea in the summer but expects a much-changed Blues side. “It has changed a lot and I don’t really know what to expect,” Rudiger said. “It doesn’t look much like the team I played for. I expect quality, because they are very good players, but I don’t know what else we can find. It won’t be an easy game, but we are Real Madrid.”
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Wednesday’s first leg at the Bernabeu kicks off at 8 pm GMT. While Chelsea’s season hangs in the balance, 13-time European champions Madrid remain firmly on course for a treble of Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey.
Ancelotti’s side have already dethroned Barcelona to qualify for the Copa del Rey final and lead La Liga. Now, the Italian has his sights set on eliminating his former club from Europe’s premier club competition.