After Real Madrid secured their passage to the UEFA Champions League semi-final with a 1-0 win over rivals Atletico, what lies ahead for Carlo Ancelotti? After all, Atletico posed somewhat of a genuine threat to Ancelotti in his bid to become part of the first side to defend their European crown. Neighbours Atletico had proven somewhat of a footballing thorn to the Italian maestro who had not notched up a win in over half a dozen matches.
This was also coupled with the fact that Los Blancos had only managed three goals in the space of seven games. Yet, Ancelotti's head might well and truly be on the chopping board. This is in spite of the fact that he may win the Champions League but as we have seen over the years, this feat has been without merit. In fact, Vincente del Bosque was soon disposed of despite capturing the European crown. Ancelotti is clearly aware of the game that the powers that be like to play at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Managers are scarcely in the hot seat before they are dispatched. This has already happened to the likes of Jose Mourinho as well as fellow Italian Fabio Capello. The board certainly pulls no punches when it comes to firing not to mention landing their chosen managers. Yet Ancelotti is one of very few to have not only won the Champions League as a player but also as a coach.
His services will no doubt be in demand come the end of the season, no matter what the outcome of the semi-final against Juventus. If he manages to steer Real to the final again, this still may not be enough to save him at the end of the current campaign. However, with the denouement of the season reaching an exciting climax, just where might Ancelotti end up in August?
10 Borussia Dortmund
With the departure just a few weeks ago of Jurgen Klopp, this may open the way for someone like Ancelotti to take over. His European pedigree is second to none, whilst he may be able to lift the spirits in what was one of Dortmund's most unsuccessful seasons. This was after reaching the Champions League final at Wembley Stadium just a few years ago where they were beaten by Bayern. Meanwhile, the fan base is definitely there at the Westfalenstadion which plays host to Borussia Dortmund. Ancelotti may be the soccer tonic the German club requires.
There is always a managerial merry go round, especially at this time of the year. Therefore, Ancelotti may seek a return to his native Italy. If this was the case, there would be a number of different possible suitors all vying for his signature. If Napoli were to terminate the services of Rafael Benitez, they may look to Ancelotti to revive their fortunes. He is the one person that could bring the good times back where the likes of Maradona and Zola once graced Napoli's famous blue shirt.
8 Bayern Munich
The unthinkable might well just be on the cards if Bayern fail to win the Champions League and Guardiola decides to move on. It all turned out rosy in the end for Pep despite a minor wardrobe malfunction where he split the sides of his trousers. Yet after a row with the team doctor who he blamed for the first leg defeat in Porto, the Bayern medical staff resigned after four decades of looking after players. It means that Guardiola could be reading boiling point and if this is the case, Bayern may be waiting in the wings to pounce.
7 Inter Milan
As the old saying goes, don't count your chickens before they hatch. With Roberto Mancini still in charge at the San Siro, it may be a long shot but Massimo Moratti may grow weary of Inter's failings. This is largely in part thanks to another poor campaign which could lead the way to the Inter head cheese saying arriverderci to Mancini. If this turns out to be what transpires, then he may make his move for Ancelotti to revive what the Nerazzurri had just five years ago, when they took the treble. His knowledge of the Italian game is unquestionable and with so much success whilst at AC Milan, this could be one of the best managerial poaches of the year.
After losing to Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final, many have started to question again the managerial skills of Liverpool boss Brendan Rogers. With many citing the fact that he lacks the steel when it comes to big games, John Henry may start to lose patience with his investment. In this way, this might light up the path for a big managerial swoop in the summer. Enter, Carlo Ancelotti who has proven time and time again that he is not afraid of taking charge of a big club. Thanks to its history and talent of past players, the phone could be ringing from Merseyside to bag Ancelotti's services.
5 Paris Saint Germain
After beating Chelsea in the Champions League but failing miserably against Barcelona, this could be a step too far for current boss Laurent Blanc. Qatari backed Paris Saint Germain certainly have the wealth to bring someone in like Ancelotti who will be able deliver almost instantaneous success. The Italian has been linked on a host of occasions to taking over the helm at PSG. Therefore, it will come as no surprise if Blanc finds himself no longer in charge with Ancelotti waiting in the wings to possibly take the hot seat.
4 Tottenham Hotspur
A long shot it might well be, but don't rule out Ancelotti taking over at Spurs. With Tottenham running out of gas again as the season draws to a close, chairman Daniel Levy pulls no punches. He has disposed of a dozen managers in almost as many years in order to find the right number one. Therefore, Pochettino could be quite literally on his last legs as the Tottenham board line up a summer replacement. Before Louis Van Gaal took over at Manchester United he was actually interviewed for the coach position at White Hart Lane.
3 Manchester United
As United's season hangs in the balance as far as Champions League football is concerned, they may not wait another year with Louis Van Gaal. With two back to back losses against Chelsea not to mention Everton, it has slightly jeopardized their position, if arch rivals Liverpool were to catch up. Manchester United require top flight European football and another season without it might spell even more danger for their corporate sponsorship deals. With the ground heavily in debt already, Ed Woodward may make a move for Ancelotti depending on how the end of the season turns out. Besides, if Ancelotti were to make the move to Old Trafford, he may even bring with him both Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. Both players have been heavily linked on a number of occasions with moves to United which could entice the Glazers even more to stump up the cash.
2 AC Milan
An emotional return could well be on the cards for Ancelotti if he were to make a return to the San Siro. This is where he spent several years as a player, whilst ensuring he captured two consecutive European crowns. In addition to this, Ancelotti is only one of six individuals to have lifted the famous trophy as a coach and player. Furthermore, he is only one of two coaches after Bob Paisley to have won the European Cup three times.
His symbolic home of AC Milan could be a draw for Ancelotti where as a midfielder, he went on to win numerous trophies. This featured not one but two Serie A league titles and of course the adoration of the supporters. With Pippo Inzaghi at the helm, his experience is not in the same league as that of Ancelotti. With Milan languishing in mid table and with no hopes of European football, the Italian maestro may well receive an unexpected phone call in the summer.
1 Manchester City
By far the most plausible team where Ancelotti may very well end up is at the Etihad. With the Abu Dhabi Group having access to an abundance of funds, money is no object. On the other hand, Manchester City have had a far from impressive season which may might open up the door to Ancelotti. With Chelsea about to wrap up the league title as well as winning the league cup, City are only playing for second place. Worse still is if they finish fourth they will have to go through the painful process of having to qualify for the Champions League. Current boss Manuel Pellegrini has overseen a campaign which as fallen way short of the board's expectations. This is especially the case in the Champions League where once again they were knocked out by Barcelona. This is Ancelotti's bread and butter, which would make City one of the most likely candidates for the Italian's signature.