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Amid speculatiuon that Rafa Benitez’s days as Real Madrid coach are numbered, his predecessor in the job, Carlo Ancelotti, says he would like to coach the club again, but does not plan to return to management until next summer.

Ancelotti, 56, was fired as Real boss at the end of last season but there have been calls for him to return after Rafa Benitez’s side were thrashed 4-0 at home by Barcelona on Saturday.

The Italian has also been linked with returns to two other former clubs, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, but he is keen to complete a one-year sabbatical before assuming the coaching reins again.

“I would go back to Real, just like I would go back to Paris Saint-Germain or Chelsea,” he told RAI radio. “I had some fantastic experiences abroad, but when I left Madrid I decided to take a year off and that is how it is.

“Some clubs have already made enquiries and I told them all the same thing: that I want to start again from next year. I’ve taken on three jobs during a season, with Juve, Milan and PSG, and they all turned out to be negative.”

Despite there being calls for benitez to be fired, Ancelotti has backed the Spaniard to turn things around at the Bernabeu.

“It’s still early days and I think his players have the quality and ability to resolve such a situation, which is very complicated,” Ancelotti said. “It was a nightmare for all the Real fans, who saw an extremely strong Barcelona side make their Real suffer.

“It’s difficult to judge from the outside how things are within the dressing room. They suffered tactically, trying to press high up the field against a side who were comfortable just controlling the ball and this is what made the difference.

“Each coach has his own ideas, though. I was accused of picking the team that [Milan president Silvio] Berlusconi wanted for years, and even in Madrid I was accused of naming the team according to the president’s desires.

“Benitez has his own ideas and he puts these into action on the field, and it’s always best to sink using your own ideas than those of somebody else.”

Meanwhile, Madrid announced on Monday afternoon that they will be holding a news conference later in the day.

While some reports claim that the press conference will announce the firing of Benitez, other reports say the Madrid board will use the occasion to give their “full backing” to the Spaniard.

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