Carlo Ancelotti confirmed as new Real Madrid manager in surprise return

Spanish giants Real Madrid have confirmed the return of former manager Carlo Ancelotti from Premier League side Everton.

Real were on the hunt for a new manager after the departure of Zinedine Zidane, Ancelotti’s former assistant.

Initially Italian duo Massimiliano Allegri and Antonio Conte were thought to be the front-runners, but the former returned to Juventus whilst the latter is reportedly not under consideration.

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They have instead turned to another Italian, who managed the club between 2013 and 2015. Ancelotti has signed a deal for three seasons.

During that time he helped them win La Decima, the tenth European title that had eluded them for over a decade.

After leaving Real he moved to Bayern Munich and then Napoli before joining his current side Everton, who he led to a 10th-placed finish last season.

The Toffees are expected to consider one of their former managers, David Moyes, alongside Nuno Espirito Santo and Eddie Howe as possible replacements for Ancelotti.

In a statement from the Merseysiders, Ancelotti expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to manage the club.

He wrote: “I would like to thank the Board of Directors, the players, and the Evertonians for the tremendous support they have all given me during my time at the Club.

I have complete respect for everyone associated with Everton and hope they can achieve the exciting opportunities they have in front of them.

“While I have enjoyed being at Everton I have been presented with an unexpected opportunity which I believe is the right move for me and my family at this time.”

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Flick is Barcelona’s preferred new manager – reports

Hansi Flick is Barcelona’s preferred choice to take over at the Camp Nou next season, according to reports.

Catalan radio station RAC 1, who are consistently a reliable source on internal Barcelona matters, claim today that Barcelona president Joan Laporta has spoken with Flick and is confident of landing his man.

The Bayern Munich manager has been expected to take the German national team role after this summer’s Euros, with Joachim Low’s lengthy spell in charge coming to an end.

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But the opportunity to take charge of Barcelona may be tempting enough to force Flick to change his mind.

The news comes just days after returning Barca president Laporta said that the club had reached ‘the end of a cycle’, effectively spelling the end for a number of players and the team’s manager Ronald Koeman.

“We won the Spanish Cup and I’m proud of that, but we lost the league in an incomprehensible manner and exited the Champions League early on,” Laporta said.

“I’m talking about the end of the cycle and renewal because that’s what I think needs to be done. Starting next week we are going to make a series of decisions and at that time we will comment.”

Barcelona finish their La Liga season away at Eibar on Saturday and are looking for a first win in four league matches after a run that has seen them slip out of title contention. Atletico Madrid top the table with one game to play, with neighbours Real Madrid two points behind.

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'Who better than Suarez?' says grateful Simeone after epic Atletico win

Diego Simeone was full of praise for Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan sealed a defining win against Osasuna in La Liga.

Suarez, Atletico’s top scorer this season, had not found the net in his previous five outings and had wasted a series of clear chances in a nerve-shredding penultimate game of the season.

Atletico looked to have blown the chance to win the title when Ante Budimir gave Osasuna a shock late lead, just as nearest challengers Real Madrid went ahead against Athletic Bilbao.

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But Brazilian left back Renan Lodi equalised before Suarez finally kept his cool in front of goal to turn in a Yannick Carrasco pass and was then buried beneath a sea of his team mates’ bodies.

“Suarez has so much experience and who better than him to resolve a game like that when it looked to be slipping away from us,” Simeone told reporters.

Suarez showed incredible spirit, he has not been scoring recently but he kept on coming close.

The Uruguayan’s goal kept Atletico two points ahead of Real Madrid and victory at Real Valladolid in their last game of the season on Sunday will hand them a first title in seven years.

Simeone had talked up the Uruguayan’s big-game experience ahead of the match, saying Atletico were “entering the Suarez zone”.

Suarez said he had not expected the game to be so difficult.

“Everyone tells you that suffering is part of Atletico’s identity but I didn’t think we’d suffer that much,” the Uruguayan said.

“But that is what this team is about, effort and sacrifice, many people working really hard to ensure the club achieves its objectives. Now we have to rest and prepare for the next game.”

No fans could attend the match due to COVID-19 restrictions but several thousand Atletico supporters gathered at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium to cheer the team on from the outside.

“This is inexplicable,” said Atletico defender Mario Hermoso.

“When we were 1-0 down and everything going against us, the fans pushed us on even though they couldn’t enter the ground. This is Atletico Madrid and you have to live it from the inside to truly understand.”

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