Ancelotti: Real Madrid job not on the line in Copa, UCL

Carlo Ancelotti has denied that Real Madrid are playing for his future as coach in Saturday’s Copa del Rey final and Tuesday’s Champions League semifinal first leg with Manchester City.

After missing out on the LaLiga title, trailing 14 points behind leaders Barcelona with five games left, Madrid’s season will now be defined by the cup clash with Osasuna in Seville — their first Copa del Rey final in nine years — and then the Champions League game with City three days later.

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“It’s the Copa del Rey final and a semifinal, that’s all. I’m not playing for my life,” Ancelotti said in a news conference on Friday. “It’s a trophy, and then we have a semifinal to prepare for… My future is clear. My contract ends on June 30, 2024, not tomorrow.”

Ancelotti won a LaLiga and Champions League double in his first season back in charge of Madrid, 2021-22, but has faced some criticism this campaign, and has also been linked with taking the Brazil national team job this summer.

“Talking about [my future] today isn’t right,” Ancelotti said. “What I can say is I get extraordinary affection every day from the president [Florentino Perez] and [director general] Jose Angel [Sanchez] and for me that’s enough… I’ll play a final and a semifinal, and I’d like to win both of them.”

Ancelotti said that the availability of midfielder Luka Modric for the game was still “a doubt” as he recovers from a thigh injury — although he admitted that “if he feels comfortable he’ll play, that’s quite obvious” — but said that defender David Alaba would start after overcoming a muscular problem.

The Italian coach said Madrid planned to celebrate if they win the Copa del Rey at La Cartuja stadium, despite the need to prepare for Tuesday’s game with City at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“When you win, you have to celebrate,” Ancelotti said. “But there are different ways of celebrating! We’d like to celebrate with all our fans who are waiting for us [in Madrid]… We’ll celebrate if we win.”

“Let’s be honest, we’ve got two weeks now that will practically decide our season,” defender Dani Carvajal said. “The league got difficult, but the first battle is tomorrow… We can win every trophy possible over these last two years at club level.”