Carlo Ancelotti says he hopes Xabi Alonso can coach Real Madrid “one day” after being linked with the Bayer Leverkusen boss following Real’s 3-1 derby defeat to Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
Alonso, 41 — who played twice for Ancelotti after a five-year spell as a Madrid player between 2009 and 2014 — has led Leverkusen to second place in the Bundesliga this season, level on points with league leaders Bayern Munich.
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ESPN reported in May that Alonso is the leading candidate to take over from Ancelotti, whose contract at the Santiago Bernabeu expires in June 2024.
“I got Xabi Alonso as a player,” Ancelotti told a news conference on Tuesday ahead of Madrid’s La Liga game with Las Palmas. “He has a high level of knowledge of football. He is doing very well with Bayer Leverkusen. He has that reading [of the game]That power.
“I think one day — for Raoul [Gonzalez]for [Alvaro] For Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso — their biggest wish is to coach Real Madrid and I want for them because I know them all, I love them all. Let’s hope one day they can coach Real Madrid.”
Alonso starred for some of modern football’s top managers – Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourinho, Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola – as a midfielder at Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich before starting his coaching career at Madrid’s academy.
He spent three seasons in charge of boyhood club Real Sociedad’s reserve team before taking over at Leverkusen in October 2022, leading them from a relegation battle to Europa League qualification.
Ancelotti faced criticism for his team selection and strategy in Sunday’s La Liga defeat to Atletico after leaving forward Joselu out of the starting XI and selecting Jude Bellingham in attack. RodrigoWith Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in midfield.
“[Criticism] It’s part of a coach’s job,” Ancelotti said. “When you’re Real Madrid manager, it’s natural that you face criticism when things don’t go well… I have to evaluate, in a self-critical way, what we’ve done, what’s good. Doing, which is a lot and what we didn’t do well against Atletico Madrid.
“I have to evaluate things with balance,” he said. “Fortunately it’s in my genes, I’m a balanced person. It’s not that difficult. Everything is not in doubt. The team won six matches out of six, including all [injury] We have a problem.”
Ancelotti has ditched his usual 4-3-3 formation this season, opting to use a midfield diamond to get the best out of Bellingham and compensate for a lack of attacking options.
But the team’s defense was exposed against Atlético, with all three goals coming from headers – two from Alvaro Morata and one from Antoine Griezmann – after crosses into the box.
“Every system has weaknesses,” the Italian said. “The midfield diamond is not perfect, neither is the 4-2-2 or the 5-3-2… it is [formation] Lets us push harder to win the ball back, but the weakness is sometimes there [the opponent] They can find you out of position when crossing, as midfielders don’t always have time to drop back and help the defence. When something is clear, you can fix it.”