Carlo Ancelotti relieved of his duties at Chelsea FC

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Chelsea Manager Carlo Ancelotti issues instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on May 22, 2011 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

Most of expected to hear news shortly about the future of Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea, but I doubt anyone expected it quite so soon.  The club have just released a statement announcing that Carlo and the club have parted ways after this afternoons game.

Chelsea Football Club can confirm that Carlo Ancelotti parted company with the club today (Sunday, 22 May).

The owner and board would like to thank Carlo for his contribution and achievements since taking over as manager in July 2009, which included winning the Double for the first time in the club's history.

However, this season's performances have fallen short of expectations and the club feels the time is right to make this change ahead of next season's preparations.

Carlo will always be welcome at Stamford Bridge, where he will be given the reception and respect his position in our history deserves.

Chelsea's long-term football objectives and ambitions remain unchanged and we will now be concentrating all our efforts on identifying a new manager.

There will be no further comment until that appointment is made.

I don't think this will come as a surprise to many, but the immediacy in which this happened makes me wonder if plan B is already more or less in place.  This should help to squash some of the inevitable Kaka or Pirlo to Chelsea rumors, but should have us front and center on all the British tabloids in the morning.  While I'm not at all disappointed by this decision right now, Ancelotti was certainly an improvement from Avram Grant or Scolari.  I'm sure the Andre Villas-Boas rumors will start up in full force now, and I'd expect to see Zola's name floated around some as well.  Thanks for a classy two seasons in charge Carlo, it's just a shame you couldn't master squad rotation and tactics.

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