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Ancelotti backs Benitez but open to Madrid return

Carlo Ancelotti says his successor Rafael Benitez deserves patience at Real Madrid but stated that he would be open to re-joining the Spanish giants.

Benitez took over from Ancelotti in the Santiago Bernabeu hot-seat during the close season but he is under heavy scrutiny following a humiliating 4-0 loss to rivals Barcelona in the Clasico on Saturday.

Madrid president Florentino Perez will hold a press conference on Monday evening, when he is reportedly set to offer public backing to Benitez amid reports of internal divisions – most notably between the coach and misfiring star forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ancelotti led Madrid to ‘La Decima’ – the club’s 10th European Cup/Champions League triumph – in 2014 but he was relieved of his duties at the end of last season after Barcelona swept the board by winning La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

The 56-year-old former Milan, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain tactician insisted he harbours no ill feeling towards Madrid and would be happy to manage them again, but only after completing a year-long sabbatical.

He told RAI Radio: “If Perez called me back to Real Madrid? I decided to take a year off, I already told you.

“Many teams have tried for me but I preferred to stay away for a year.

“Start again with Real after a year? Why not, likewise I could start over at PSG or Chelsea.”

Ancelotti felt Benitez was found wanting tactically against Barcelona but believes he should be allowed time for his ideas to take root in the squad, while the Italian also cast doubt on reports of Ronaldo being in conflict with the ex-Liverpool and Napoli boss.

“Let’s be slow with our judgments because we are just at the beginning,” he said. “The Real players have the ability to revive the situation.

“Real suffered against a really strong Barcelona. Benitez? It’s difficult to judge from the outside.

“From watching the game, they suffered most on the tactical level. Every coach has his own ideas and it’s good that, for better or for worse, he takes them forward.”

As for Madrid’s reportedly disgruntled star forward, Ancelotti added: “I spoke with Ronaldo last week, he never said he had a bad relationship with the coach.

“He tows the line and always tries to help his team. When things aren’t going well, it’s obvious that the forwards have to suffer most.”

Mon 23 Nov, 2015
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