Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has been forced into a response to comments made by Jose Mourinho whereby his Chelsea counterpart claimed he could possibly return to the Santiago Bernabeu in the future.
Mourinho left Real Madrid in the summer of last year having endured a season to forget as fractures emerged in the dressing room and, of course, returned to Stamford Bridge for a second spell with Chelsea.
Ancelotti, himself a former Chelsea coach, left Paris Saint-Germain to replace Mourinho in the Spanish capital, and immediately was able to win the trophy that was beyond the Portuguese during his time with Los Blancos.
Given the way things unfolded during Mourinho’s final months at Real Madrid, it would be fair to assume that he is glad to be gone from what became an increasingly toxic environment.
However, Mourinho said in an interview this week that he would return to Real Madrid ‘today’ if he was offered the opportunity to do so, although Ancelotti is not prepared to entertain the prospect of this happening.
"Mourinho is a great coach who can coach anywhere," the Ancelotti told reporters at a press conference on Friday.
"I don't know if Mourinho wants to come back [to Madrid].”
Is Mourinho being genuine? It is always hard to tell with the mind-game master but, either way, it would be difficult to fathom Real Madrid being prepared to allow him back given the hostility that remains.
It would not be beyond Mourinho to have said this in order to provoke a reaction in Madrid, given the recent comments made made by the club’s former director Jorge Valdano, who was sacked during the Portuguese’s tenure in Spain.
“I couldn't understand him because he is the antithesis of my sensitivity. Intelligence and ego are enemies and when they collide, the ego wins,” Valdano explained.
“I’ve never heard him say a single thing about football worth remembering, whether in public or in private.”
The prospect of Mourinho leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid would be enough to send Valdano into a blind rage and, that it would be fair to suspect, was just the intention of the former.
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