Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has ruled out an exchange deal for Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo, insisting Xabi Alonso is a crucial part of his plans.

Both midfielders are approaching the end of their contracts and there had been speculation that a swap deal may have been on the cards, however this has been denied by Ancelotti. 

The Italian manager knows Andrea Pirlo from their time together at AC Milan, but was full of praise for Spain international Xabi Alonso.

He told Mediaset: "Xabi is a vital player for Madrid now that he's recovered from injury. There are only two players like him in Europe. One is Pirlo and the other is Xabi.

"However, we have no intention of making a player exchange deal with Juventus. There is no substance to any rumour like that.

"I am still in touch with Andrea because I have a good relationship with him. I was pleased to see the Madrid fans give him a warm welcome when we met."

German midfielder Sami Khedira tore his knee ligaments on Friday and is expected to be out for six months, while Alonso, who has just come back from a five month injury layoff himself, is now expected to play a big part for Madrid in his teammates absence.

The 31-year-old former Liverpool man has also been linked with a return to the Premier League, but there are now rumours Real Madrid are willing to offer the central midfielder a new contract at the Bernabéu.

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