x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

The two coaches of Milan

Serie A's leading pair of head coaches spent the penultimate weekend of the league season trading boasts.

Serie A's leading pair of head coaches spent the penultimate weekend of the league season trading boasts. No sooner had AC Milan's Carlo Ancelotti confirmed the long suspected interest held by Chelsea in making him their next manager than Inter Milan's Jose Mourinho announced he had been contacted by Real Madrid. Mourinho is not, he says, planning to leave the club he has just guided to the league title, but, being Mourinho, he was keen to remind reporters attending his press briefing on Saturday than he is held in high regard across Europe.

"It was a little tempting," said Mourinho, "but I am 99.9 per cent sure I will remain with Inter." Ancelotti painted a very different picture of his situation at Milan, saying that his present club, where his contract runs until 2010, were aware of the Chelsea proposal and were weighing up their desire to keep the coach who has served them for eight years. "I don't think Silvio Berlusconi, [the Milan president] was annoyed that Roman Abramovich, [Chelsea owner] had been in touch with me," said Ancelotti, who spoke with more enthusiasm than ever about a move to London.

"If you asked me: 'Would I like to coach Chelsea?' then I'd say 'Yes'. I'd say that because coaching is my passion." Ancelotti also revealed he had been learning English. Mourinho's ears pricked up on learning of Ancelotti's candid confessions. The Portuguese said his former charges at Chelsea to whom he is still close had been asking for an assessment of Ancelotti. "My friends there are saying to me that Ancelotti will be the next boss of Chelsea. It's up to him, but if he asked my opinion, I'd say do it. It will be a great adventure."

ihawkey@thenational.ae