Former Chelsea manager and legend of world football, Carlo Ancelotti, sacked by Bayern Munich in late September, returned to the dugout last week when he took charge of ‘Team Ronaldinho’ at UEFA’s inaugural Match for Solidarity. With Michael Essien and Juliano Belletti playing for Carlo, there was a bit of a Chelsea vibe going on, but a second-half goalfest saw ‘Team Figo’ emerge victorious, 4-3. Of course that was secondary to the charitable efforts of the occasion.
What a day! ⚽️— UEFA (@UEFA) April 21, 2018
A huge thank you to the players, the fans and everyone who supported #MatchForSolidarity
Team @LuisFigo were 4-3 winners on the day, but the real winners are the projects around the world that will benefit from the funds raised pic.twitter.com/RAHHqB5Pfs
Perhaps that brief taste of pseudo-management got Ancelotti thinking about his future, as according to the latest reports from Italy, the 58-year-old has rejected the Italian Football Federation via a phone call. He was the FIGC’s leading candidate for the job at which Conte’s successor, Gian Piero Ventura failed so spectacularly in the last two years. The FIGC are expected to announce the new Italy manager by May 20th, so now they’re apparently turning their attentions to Roberto Mancini and Claudio Ranieri. But Conte’s name will undoubtedly come up once again, too, even if his return to national team management is quite unlikely at this point. Like Ancelotti, Conte would seem to prefer the daily grind of club management.
Ancelotti is thus back in the rumor mill, where Chelsea and Arsenal are already hard at work. Corriere’s report also mentions Monaco, who would only be an option if Leonardo Jardim was leaving — which he might be as he is certainly on Chelsea’s shortlist of potential candidates. Ancelotti himself will probably be thus linked with Chelsea as well, but that return seems highly unlikely. Of all the Roman Era managers in the SW6, Carlo’s been the most outspoken — with respect and reason, but outspoken — about the owner’s interference, and while Abramovich seems (relatively) more patient and hands off these days, that’s unlikely to change any ingrained feelings or opinions. Ancelotti also doesn’t fit the profile of Chelsea’s supposed designs of a younger, paradigm-shifting head coach, who would need to actively work on the training ground to develop players and rebuild the squad rather than just manage big egos at a team that’s already a finished product. That’s not to say Ancelotti couldn’t do the former (he can hire the proper assistants, for example), but he’s much more suited to the latter type of job, as his appointments over the past decade indicate as well (Chelsea in ‘09, PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich).
Good luck to Ancelotti wherever he lands. Unless that’s Arsenal.