Outgoing Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes is the new favourite to replace Jose Mourinho as manager of Real Madrid.
With Mourinho's return to Chelsea imminent and his departure already confirmed the nine-times European Champions are on the look out for a new boss with the capabilities to both reclaim the La Liga title from fierce rivals Barcelona and bring them Champions League success for the first time since 2002.
Heynckes certainly fits that description after he led Bayern Munich to a historic treble last season. Having been unceremoniously shepherded into retirement shortly after Christmas, and with former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola having already signed an agreement to become his replacement come the summer, the 68 year-old responded by leading Bayern to their most successful ever season: claiming a domestic title, cup and a fifth European success.
Now, Madrid chief Florentino Perez is eager to invite the experienced and well-proven German one final opportunity in the 'big time'.
Current Paris Saint-Germain manager and former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, himself a European Cup winner with AC Milan, had been thought to be the sole runner in the race to be appointed Madrid manager, but Heynckes apparent willingness to postpone his retirement had made Perez reconsider his decision.
Ancelotti, 53, is near-equally experienced having coached an array of sides from across Europe over the last 20 years.
He began his management career at Reggiana where he achieved promotion to Serie A in his first season, leaving a year later to join a Parma team which included the likes of Gianluigi Buffon and Fabio Cannavaro.
Parma finished second in Ancelotti's first year in charge and earned a Champions League place. His accomplishments led to a move to Juventus in 1999 where he helped claim the Intertoto Cup and back-to-back second placed finishes in Serie A.
When Ancelotti was appointed AC Milan manager in November 2001 it had been over two years since the Rossoneri had won their last title.
He did not take long to completely transform the club and Milan won the 2003 Champions League title with a penalty shoot-out victory over Juventus at Old Trafford. His Milan team suffered defeat in perhaps the most famous ever European Cup final as Liverpool came from three goals down to win on spot kicks in Istanbul in 2005, but they claimed revenge two years later with a 2-1 victory over the Reds in Athens - AC's seventh success in the competition.
The 2007 Fifa Club World Cup as well as one league title, and one Italian cup were added to his CV before he departed for Chelsea in 2009 - where he won a Premier League and FA Cup double in his debut season.
Unfortunately for Ancelotti, one trophy-less season a year later was enough to see him sacked and replaced (briefly) by Andre Villas-Boas.
His next move took him to France and the billionaire-backed PSG, whom he led to a first league title in eight years and a European quarter-final earlier this year.
In comparison, Heynckes has not managed outside of Germany since 2003, when he left Athletic Bilbao to join Schalke.
The Basque club were not his first venture into Spain however, indeed, the Madrid job is not something unfamiliar to him. Having taken over at the Bernabeu in June 1997 his Real side defeated Juventus to win the 97-98 Champions League title - but a lack of domestic success (finishing fourth, eleven points behind champions Barcelona) saw his tenure terminated at the end of the season.
Less than successful spells followed at Benfica, Bilbao, Schalke and Borussia Mochengladbach before his guidance took Bayer Leverkusen to a second placed finish in the 2011 Bundesliga - earning him a third chance as Bayern Munich manager, a role he'd also filled between 1987-91 and as caretaker in 2009.
In the 2011-12 season Munich finished as runners-up in the German League, Cup and lost the Champions League final on penalties to Chelsea in their own stadium. But they recovered to go one better in all three competitions a year later and earn their manager a chance to potentially repeat his success in Spain.
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