Real Madrid’s fixture against Getafe on Saturday will be Carlo Ancelotti’s last in charge of the team, as he is set to be sacked at the end of the season, with Napoli boss Rafael Benitez the favourite to replace him.
The future of the Italian coach, who has guided the Blancos to success in the Champions League, Club World Cup, Copa del Rey and Uefa Super Cup since taking over in summer 2013, has come under immense scrutiny in recent months.
Their Champions League semi-final exit at the hands of Juventus followed by their failure to win La Liga and an early exit in the Copa del Rey has brought the board to the conclusion that a change is needed.
While the club have not confirmed to Ancelotti that he will be relieved of his duties come the conclusion of the campaign, he has been informed that they are searching for “another kind of coach”.
The former Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan boss is understood to appreciate that the club would feel justified to sack him after a campaign without a major title – other than the Club World Cup – and is quite happy with his time at the Bernabeu.
The 55-year-old has been heavily linked with a return to Milan in recent weeks, but it is not an option he is seriously considering at present and it is believed he could go on a sabbatical until a top job opens up for him.
Expected to leave Napoli at the end of the campaign, Benitez is currently top of the list of candidates to take the Italian’s role. The Spaniard has a fan in Madrid general manager Jose Angel Sanchez and is a coach Florentino Perez has previously considered for the job.
Some figures at the capital club believe the hiring of Benitez is a done deal, but his representatives insisted there has been no contact from Madrid and he is not exploring his options until the Serie A season finishes on May 31. However, his agent Manuel Garcia-Quilon told Spanish TV channel Cuatro that the coach “will surely be interested in coaching Madrid”.