x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

European football round-up: PSG in no mood to let Carlo Ancelotti go

Italian manager expresses wish of moving to Real Madrid ahead of next season.

Carlo Ancelotti has expressed his desire to break his contract with Paris Saint-Germain. Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters
Carlo Ancelotti has expressed his desire to break his contract with Paris Saint-Germain. Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed his desire to leave Paris St Germain – but the club's wealthy owners are determined to stand in his way.

The Italian met with Nasser Al Khelaifi, the club president, and Leonardo, the sporting director, to attempt to negotiate his departure from the Ligue 1 title-winners, with the likely vacancy at Real Madrid seemingly in his thoughts.

With a year left on his contract, though, he would need the club's blessing – and Al Khelaifi warned that he expects the 54 year old to honour the terms of his deal.

According to reports in France, Ancelotti said at the Ligue 1 awards evening: "I had a meeting with the president and Leonardo. I asked – because I have a contract – to leave the club.

"We have to wait for the club's response, they will decide."

That response seemed already to have been made clear, though, when Al Khelaifi told beinsport.fr: "Yes, we had discussions, he asked to depart for Real Madrid.

"I said it is not possible because he has a contract for one year more, so that is our decision.

"It is his problem, it is not our problem. We have offered him another year more on his contract as well as the one he has.

"When you have a contract, everyone is normally obliged to honour that."

Speculation continues to link Jose Mourinho, the Madrid manager, with a return to his former club Chelsea and Ancelotti continued: "Real is a possibility but I have a year left on my contract. It is the club who will decide.

"We have to decide together. My decision is to leave the club. It is not easy because I have had a very good relationship with everyone.

"It is not the time to explain the reason why I wish to leave the club, and perhaps I will never explain it."

Ancelotti has just led PSG to their first league title in 19 years, as well as a Champions League quarter-final.

Leonardo insists no plans have been made to replace him, telling L'Equipe: "The priority is still that he stays. We have not contacted any other coaches."

One name which has often been linked with the club is that of former AC Milan, Roma and England coach Fabio Capello, now in charge of the Russian national team.

But Ancelotti's compatriot told France Football: "I have never been contacted."

PSG top the table by 10 points from bitter rivals Marseille with one game remaining, and were only edged out on away goals by Barcelona in the last eight in Europe.

Ancelotti has been granted near-unlimited spending power by Al Khelaifi's Qatar Sports Investments consortium, which allowed him to build a new attacking line-up around Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore last summer.

Brazil playmaker Lucas Moura was added to the squad in January along with former England captain David Beckham, who seemingly played his last game as a professional against Brest.

Despite all that, Ancelotti may feel a move to the Bernabeu would offer him a better chance to achieve Champions League success. Real were beaten by Borussia Dortmund in this season's semi-final but came close to overturning a 4-1 first-leg deficit.

They also beat Barca to last season's Primera Division title, though the Catalan giants have been dominant on the domestic stage this term.

AC Milan qualify for Champions League

AC Milan produced a dramatic late fightback to win 2-1 at Siena and book their place in next season's Uefa Champions League at the expense of Fiorentina.

Milan fell a goal behind to Claudio Terzi (25) and it remained that way until six minutes from time when Mario Balotelli levelled from the penalty spot.

Yet with Fiorentina hammering Pescara 5-1, Milan needed another goal to finish third in Serie A and take the final Champions League berth, and they duly got the job done with three minutes remaining as Philippe Mexes fired home.

Both teams finished the match with 10 men after Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini and Siena's Christian Terlizzi were sent off for second yellows in the second half.

Napoli coach quits after defeat

Walter Mazzarri, the Napoli coach, has announced his decision to leave the Serie A runners-up after four years at the helm.

The 51 year old, whose contract expires in the summer, revealed before 2-1 loss at Roma that he would reveal his future plans once the season was over.

Barca win final game

Barcelona marked the occasion of their Primera Liga trophy presentation with a 2-1 win over Real Valladolid at the Nou Camp.

Pedro opened the scoring after Xavi intercepted Jesus Rueda's pass out of defence and former Barca trainee Marc Valiente's clumsy own goal put the champions two goals to the good at half-time.

Victor Perez's late penalty, after Martin Montoya fouled Manucho, denied Victor Valdes a clean sheet on his 500th appearance for the club but could not dampen the party atmosphere.

Captain Carles Puyol accepted the trophy but touchingly handed it to coach Tito Vilanova and defender Eric Abidal, both of whom have had treatment for cancer, to lift.

Porto clinch title

Porto won their third consecutive Liga title and completed an unbeaten season in the process after beating Pacos Ferreira 2-0.

They beat bitter rivals Benfica last weekend to leapfrog the Lisbon outfit in the standings and completed the job with a win against their near neighbours.

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