A star-studded panel of Europe-based legends will be urged to "protect the game of football" by giving expert insight into hot topics including VAR and handball at a UEFA summit on Monday.

Coaches including Jose Mourinho, Fabio Capello, Zinedine Zidane, Carlo Ancelotti, Gareth Southgate and Fabio Capello have joined the 24-man UEFA football board, along with superstar former players Paolo Maldini, Luis Figo, Gareth Bale, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Laudrup, Philipp Lahm and Robbie Keane.

There is one non-European on the board, with Inter's Argentine vice-president Javier Zanetti joining a throng that also includes former Germany team-mates Rudi Voller and Jurgen Klinsmann, plus Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman, Rafael Benitez, Patrick Vieira and Eric Abidal.

The noticeably all-male board will hold its first meeting at UEFA's European House of Football headquarters on Monday.

European football's governing body said the group will "give an institutional yet independent voice of experience and expertise on fundamental football-related topics".

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: "UEFA is delighted to see that the very ones who have shaped the game's history with their talents and philosophy through decades are gathered again around our common goal – to protect the game of football and its essential values. As we always say: football first!"

Ceferin is campaigning for clarity on football's handball rules, having recently described the law as "really obscure".

"No one understands it any more," Ceferin said. "So we really need a conversation here, finding solutions and clarifying some issues."

He said that would be an issue for the football board to look at, and it was confirmed on Thursday as being on the agenda for the meeting, along with discussions about the video assistant referee system, player behaviour and medical issues.

UEFA said its technical director and chief of football Zvonimir Boban would chair Monday's meeting, although he is not a member of the new board.

UEFA football board members: Jose Mourinho (Portugal), Carlo Ancelotti (Italy), Zinedine Zidane (France), Paolo Maldini (Italy), Fabio Capello (Italy), Javier Zanetti (Argentina), Luis Figo (Portugal), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Ronald Koeman (Netherlands), Gareth Southgate (England), Rio Ferdinand (England), Michael Laudrup (Denmark), Rafael Benitez (Spain), Roberto Martinez (Spain)
Predrag Mijatovic (Montenegro), Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany), Rudi Voller (Germany), Petr Cech (Czech Republic), Juan Mata (Spain), Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland), Patrick Vieira (France), Henrik Larsson (Sweden), Eric Abidal (France), Gareth Bale (Wales).

Carlo Ancelotti believed Thibaut Courtois' performance was critical for Real Madrid in their Champions League elimination of Chelsea.

The former Blues goalkeeper enjoyed a fine game in Tuesday's second leg as Rodrygo's second-half double helped Madrid to a 2-0 win and 4-0 aggregate quarter-final triumph.

Before the Brazilian found the net, Courtois had been imperative to denying Chelsea a lifeline in the contest with a superb stop to deny Marc Cucurella.

Speaking afterwards, Ancelotti lauded his goalkeeper's contribution while paying tribute to his side for how they soaked up the pressure at Stamford Bridge.

"They were ahead on the scoreboard [mentally]," he told Movistar. "The save was very important. In the second half, we managed better, we had more space.

"We knew that we had to suffer in this type of game. [Chelsea] tried everything, they created problems for us. It has been a complete game, and a deserving tie."

Rodrygo echoed his coach's comments, lauding Courtois while touching on the pressures of ensuring Madrid live up to expectations with a semi-final appearance.

"We suffered today at the beginning, but there [Courtois] was again to save us," he added. "We have the obligation to reach the semi-finals every year.

"We've achieved it every year since I've been here. I don't know what happens to me with this competition, but it is very special, and I am very happy."

Madrid will face either Manchester City or Bayern Munich in the last four, with the Premier League side favourites to join them after a hefty 3-0 first-leg win.

The last time Chelsea binned off Frank Lampard, they won the Champions League four months later.

They brought him back, have immediately lost four games on the trot and won't be kings of Europe this year. Nor will they be contesting this competition next year.

Sometimes good things come to an end, but Chelsea and Lampard have past glories they can rely on and seem happy enough together again, so don't cry for them.

All those signings in January, and then this? All the brilliant leadership from Todd Boehly, and then this?

Real Madrid have more past glories than any club in the history of this competition, landing their 14th title last May, and they cleared the Chelsea hurdle after Carlo Ancelotti somehow outwitted Lampard.

Honestly, who saw that coming?

This was football as some sort of abstract performance art from the men in blue and their boss.

Stealth tactics, confuse the hell out of them. Play N'Golo Kante as a roving forward, why not? Have Conor Gallagher as the man nodding down crosses for the little Frenchman, why not? Madrid won't know what's hit 'em!

On seeing Chelsea's starting line-up, featuring world-beating holding midfielder Kante as the frontline attack dog, snooker star and Blues fan Neil Robertson tweeted: "I'm a little confused with this lineup. Hopefully a master plan!"

Sure Neil, let's call this a master plan. Just like playing a frame of snooker with the butt end of a cue would be considered a sound tactic, this was a master plan all right.

Eleven minutes in, this supreme strategy should have brought Chelsea a goal when Reece James' cross broke to an unmarked Kante.

From 12 yards the French World Cup winner surely would hit the opening goal and give Chelsea the dream start they were after.

Reader, he did not. A wild swing of the left boot sent the ball wide, but my word, did Madrid already look confused.

After playing 30 games in the Champions League without ever scoring, it was surely a matter of time before Kante broke that duck in this game. He was born to be the match winner.

James took a hapless touch on another Chelsea attack and Madrid's Vinicius Junior shepherded the ball out of play for a goal kick, being told to 'f*** off' by at least one Chelsea supporter for his efforts.

Madrid were surely on the ropes now with such vitriol adding to their woes.

Sure, Rodrygo whacked a shot against the outside of the Chelsea right post. But the home side were flying.

Kante had four touches in the first 20 minutes, the fewest of any player on the pitch. Madrid were being lulled into a false sense of security, their 2-0 first-leg lead suddenly so vulnerable.

Sure, Luka Modric’s sharp shot from a tight angle was then bundled behind by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Chelsea full-back James got in on the right and looked to play a quick ball to the striker attacking the near post, except that player unfortunately did not exist.

In the 38th minute, Kante was the man dashing down the right, and the makeshift winger’s cross would have been ideal if Chelsea had a striker in their ranks. As it was, it ran through the penalty area and out again before Madrid cleared their lines.

Kante then won a corner, and Kai Havertz flicked it on, Conor Gallagher headed it up, and nobody nodded it in.

In first-half stoppage time, Chelsea had the best chance of the half, when James' delicious low cross from the right inevitably missed the players in the middle and ran through to left-back Marc Cucurella.

The £55million defender was not necessarily acquired for his finishing, having only netted once for Brighton and Hove Albion, and he duly kept up his record of never having netted for Chelsea as Thibaut Courtois kept out his strike.

By half-time, Kante had pulled level with the goalkeepers on 17 touches each. Progress.

The chances kept coming after the break and Kante had another glorious opportunity when Gallagher nodded the ball down. Kante got to the ball and smacked his shot straight at defender Eder Militao.

Havertz trickled a low shot straight at Courtois, and Madrid were surely by now boggled by this master class in mind games. You could knock them down with a feather by this point.

Yet after almost an hour of banter-ball, Madrid scored when a short pass from Vinicius teed up Rodrygo to smash in from close range.

But wait! In the 67th minute, Lampard introduced three players with goals in their veins: Raheem Sterling, Mykhailo Mudryk and Joao Felix.

Hold them back until the game's lost, Frank, then unleash them, baby!

The Spanish giants withdrew Benzema after 70 minutes, sparing him from such advanced confusion tactics.

All Chelsea needed now was four goals.

Madrid scored next, Federico Valverde dancing past Thiago Silva and squaring for Rodrygo to net again. Two-nil on the night, four-nil on aggregate.

Just five goals needed now.

Frank, I don't think this is going quite to plan.

Real Madrid kept their Champions League title defence alive with a 2-0 win over Chelsea on Tuesday that secured a 4-0 aggregate success in the quarter-finals.

Rodrygo's second-half double helped Los Blancos see off any chance of a Blues comeback at Stamford Bridge to book their semi-final spot.

Frank Lampard's hosts offered an energetic improvement on their performance in the reverse fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu last week.

But their inability to convert chances ultimately left the door open for Carlo Ancelotti's side to make it a comfortable passage to the last four in the end.

Chelsea started with dogged intent, going close when N'Golo Kante sliced a volley wide 11 minutes in.

Madrid did not rest on their own laurels, however, with Rodrygo striking the post almost midway through the first half after he was played smartly into the box.

Luka Modric tested Kepa Arrizabalaga with a powerful shot just past the half-hour mark, while Thibaut Courtois denied Marc Cucurella from six yards after the Blues man found himself in space.

But their best chance arguably fell to Kante just after the restart, his strike off Conor Gallagher's header was blocked at close-range.

That miss allowed Madrid to make the breakthrough instead, with Rodrygo smashing home Vinicius Junior's square return ball in the 58th minute.

His effort took the sting out of the contest, and when the Brazilian added a second in the 80th minute from Federico Valverde's cut-back, it allowed the visitors an easy ride to the finish line.

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti does not see an issue with Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly giving a speech to the Blues players in the dressing room.

Chelsea caretaker manager Frank Lampard revealed on Monday that Boehly routinely speaks to the team, saying he is fine with that being the case.

Former Blues boss Ancelotti said that if Lampard is comfortable with it, he does not think it is a problem.

Chelsea's 2-1 home defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday was their third loss in a row, and they are without a win in six (D2 L4), sitting in 11th place in the Premier League.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Madrid's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Chelsea, Ancelotti said: "To have a speech from the owner could be an important thing for the players. The Chelsea moment is not a good moment... if the owner wants to talk to the players, absolutely."

However, he stopped short of signing off on the idea of Madrid president Florentino Perez doing the same in his dressing room.

"If [Perez] wants to talk to me every game, I would be happy to do that," he said. "The owner[/president] has the right to know what the decisions of the manager are."

Los Blancos take a 2-0 lead into the second leg at Stamford Bridge, and Ancelotti knows the job is not yet done, with his team almost throwing away a two-goal advantage at the same stage against the same opposition in last year's competition.

After winning 3-1 at Stamford Bridge, Madrid were 3-0 down in the return leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, only for a Rodrygo goal to send it to extra-time before Karim Benzema scored the winner.

"[We have] plenty of motivation," he said. "It's a big game, and we know we have to put in a good performance.

"There are still at least 90 minutes to play, and anything can happen, but we will be ready."

The Italian would not be drawn on links with Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, with reports suggesting Madrid and Manchester City are at the front of the queue for the England international after Liverpool allegedly withdrew their interest due to finances.

"Unfortunately, Bellingham is a Dortmund player, and I don't like to talk about players of other teams. Sorry," Ancelotti said.

Carlo Ancelotti praised the "spectacular" attitude of his Real Madrid side in a 2-0 LaLiga win at Cadiz.

Los Blancos dominated the game at Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla on Saturday, registering more shots than any other team in a LaLiga match this season, with 35 attempts.

Madrid had to wait until Nacho's brilliant finish after 72 minutes to take the lead and Marco Asensio gave them breathing space four minutes later.

Vinicius Junior and Toni Kroos were not risked by Ancelotti ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg at Chelsea due to muscle strains, while Luka Modric and Eduardo Camavinga came off the bench.

Dani Carvajal and David Alaba were unused substitutes as Madrid prepared for the game at Stamford Bridge, which they will start with a 2-0 aggregate lead, by cutting Barcelona's lead at the top of the table to 10 points.

Madrid head coach Ancelotti said: "The biggest impression for me is how the team played. It was a match well played, at an important point of the season.

"It wasn't easy preparing for it, but the players' attitude was spectacular."

Captain Karim Benzema failed to score despite having nine shots, hitting the crossbar from close range in the first half, but Ancelotti was impressed with the striker's contribution.

He said: "I saw him look so well, so fresh. I told him, 'I'll put you in [the team] and I'll take you off when you get tired'.

"I was a little sad because he didn't score, but it was a pleasure to see him. It was difficult to remove him because I wanted to enjoy watching him."

Ancelotti confirmed forward Vinicius and midfielder Kroos will be fit to face Chelsea in London.

He said: "They are here to play, they have already trained today and they will be at their best for Tuesday."

Carlo Ancelotti has declared that he has no intention of leaving Real Madrid at the end of the season.

Ancelotti has enjoyed a glorious second spell as Los Blancos head coach after returning to the club in July 2021, winning the Champions League and LaLiga last season.

The wily Italian has also masterminded Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup glory, with Madrid in the hunt to lift the Champions League trophy once again this season and the Copa del Rey.

Barcelona are 13 points clear of Madrid at the top of La Liga, so it appears to be only a matter of time before the reigning champions are dethroned.

Ancelotti has just over a year remaining on his contract and the 63-year-old has been linked with the Brazil job, but he has no plans to bring his tenure in the Spanish capital to an end.

He told reporters on Friday: "I feel proud of everything, it [his second spell with Madrid] has been a success so far. I hope to continue, but I am proud of what I have achieved.

"I think [Madrid president Florentino] Perez supports me. The president is always very affectionate with me, we will be here next season without a doubt, I will respect the contract."

Ancelotti has come in for criticism from certain quarters this season and has taken it on the chin.

He added: "This is football, we've had success in some competitions, but you have to wait to judge. I listen to criticism, it's normal. We have to live in a world where you have to listen to the people, the club, the players.

"Some criticisms are understandable, others are not and what you can understand helps to improve."

Carlo Ancelotti would not swap Vinicius Junior for Erling Haaland, with the two looking likely to come up against one another in the Champions League semi-finals.

Both Manchester City and Real Madrid comfortably won their quarter-final first legs against Bayern Munich and Chelsea respectively, with star players Haaland and Vinicius shining again.

Haaland has scored an incredible 45 goals for City this season, while Vinicius has 21 goals and 14 assists in 45 appearances for Madrid.

While a prominent goal threat, Vinicius leads the way for Madrid in chances created (89) and expected assists (10.68), and only Eduardo Camavinga has made more appearances than the winger for Los Blancos this term.

Asked at a press conference ahead of Madrid's LaLiga trip to Cadiz if he would trade the Brazilian for the Norwegian, Ancelotti said: "No, what a question! 

"Each one has his own. Madrid takes advantage of Vinicius and [City manager Pep] Guardiola from Haaland."

Ancelotti confirmed he will be without Vinicius as well as Toni Kroos for Saturday's game at Cadiz, with both having adductor strains, but insisted it is merely a precaution.

Former Milan, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain boss Ancelotti also queried the notion that English clubs are often considered favourites for the Champions League, such as City this season.

 

Ancelotti masterminded wins over Chelsea, City and Liverpool last season on the way to becoming the first coach to win the Champions League on four occasions.

Madrid knocked out Liverpool this season and are 2-0 up against Chelsea after the first leg of their quarter-final.

"I'm not bothered, because the truth is that English football has teams that compete very well," he said. "It doesn't surprise me that the English are favourites, although Spanish football took two teams to the semi-finals last year, this year Italy has three in the quarter-finals. 

"The English think they have the strongest league, but outside there are other championships that continue to compete with less money, such as Spain and Italy."

Madrid were beaten 3-2 at home by Villarreal in their last league outing, now sitting 13 points behind leaders Barcelona with 10 games remaining.

Ancelotti insists his team will continue to give their all in LaLiga though, suggesting a club of Madrid's stature could not do less.

"We have to respect the competition and if we can't get to the first position, we have to be second," he said. 

"We wear a shirt that demands fighting until the end."

Carlo Ancelotti was pleased with Real Madrid's commanding 2-0 win against Chelsea but stressed they must be ready to "fight and sacrifice" in the second leg at Stamford Bridge.

Madrid look set to advance to the Champions League semi-finals for the third consecutive season after they breezed past Frank Lampard's out-of-form side at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Goals from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio either side of a red card for Ben Chilwell rounded out a dominant performance from the reigning champions, who will travel to London for the return match next week.

The defeat leaves Chelsea without a goal in four games in all competitions, but Ancelotti remained steadfast that Los Blancos would need to work hard to finish the job in the second leg.

"I know football really well and my players understand that we have another 90 minutes to play, and it will be difficult, and we have to be ready," he told BT Sport.

"We won 2-0, we took advantage of this game, but it's not done yet. Chelsea is a good team with good players, and we have to fight and sacrifice at Stamford Bridge. This is absolutely normal – it's a quarter-final of the Champions League.

"We are satisfied with the game, it was a good game, and now we focus on the next."

Luka Modric's close miss and a squandered late chance from Benzema kept the score down after Chelsea were reduced to 10 men, but the Madrid boss did not feel his side had failed in not finding another goal before the final whistle.

He said: "When we were against 10 men, they put a low block, and it was not easy to find solutions.

"I think we spent a lot of energy in the game trying to press high, and so at the end, we were not so fresh to try to find another goal, but the result and the performance was good."

Wednesday's encounter saw Ancelotti go head-to-head with Lampard in the dugout, with the Madrid boss having coached his opposite number while himself Chelsea manager between 2009 and 2011.

"I have a good memory of him – a fantastic player," Ancelotti said when asked about Lampard. "I hope he will be a fantastic manager but not necessarily next Tuesday."

Real Madrid put one foot into the final four of the Champions League after a 2-0 win over 10-man Chelsea in the first leg of their quarter-final.

Karim Benzema's first-half tap-in put the holders in front at Santiago Bernabeu before Marco Asensio doubled their advantage with just over a quarter-hour to go.

A straight red card for Ben Chilwell after he tugged down Rodrygo in-between compounded a tough trip to Spain for Frank Lampard's men.

Former Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti and his Los Blancos side will wish they had more to show, but will nevertheless head to Stamford Bridge with a healthy advantage for next week's return leg.

Thibaut Courtois denied Joao Felix on the break and Benzema forced a close-range stop from Kepa at the other end inside the first 15 minutes.

Benzema was in the place after 21 minutes, though, capitalising when Kepa parried Vinicius Junior's shot into his path.

Madrid had chances to extend the lead before the break with David Alaba's header almost squirming in five minutes before half-time.

Chelsea's hopes of a comeback after the break felt slim even before Kalidou Koulibaly was forced to hobble off, and Chilwell's dismissal only worsened matters.

Asensio then was on-point to cap another fine European performance from Madrid when he swept home a cut-back delivery in the 74th minute.

Benzema could and perhaps should have made it three in the final stages of injury time, only to push his looping header over the crossbar from nine yards out.

But the hosts are now well on course to extend their superb continental record, though Ancelotti will know more than most the battle is not over yet for his side.

Frank Lampard was able to recall Thiago Silva as the veteran defender returned from injury for Chelsea's Champions League quarter-final first leg at Real Madrid.

Chelsea are facing Madrid at this stage of the competition for the second consecutive season, having been agonisingly eliminated in extra time at the Santiago Bernabeu last year.

The Blues are at least boosted by the presence of Silva in the line-up for this latest trip to Madrid, however.

The 38-year-old has been out with a knee ligament injury since late February, missing the European win against Borussia Dortmund and a host of domestic matches that led to Graham Potter's dismissal.

Silva is back working under former boss Lampard, who also brought back N'Golo Kante after he was rested at Wolves on Saturday.

Kante's inclusion saw a change of shape as 2021 final hero Kai Havertz missed out as a difficult season continues, while Ben Chilwell was preferred to Marc Cucurella.

Madrid, like Chelsea, had shuffled their pack at the weekend with little left to play for in the league. They similarly lost to Villarreal.

But Carlo Ancelotti restored his XI from the prior 4-0 win at Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.

Karim Benzema, selected up front, has scored his past 10 Champions League goals in knockout games against English sides, with four of those coming against Chelsea last season.

He netted a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge before his extra-time goal took Madrid through.

Carlo Ancelotti is keen for his Real Madrid side to meet Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul.

Los Blancos face Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the competition, while Milan are building up for an all-Italian affair against Napoli.

Madrid will be favourites against Chelsea due to the poor season being endured by the Premier League side.

For Milan, the situation is different as Napoli have blown away their rivals in Serie A this season, but they will have the backing of Ancelotti.

Asked what he said to Paolo Maldini in a recent call with the former defender, Ancelotti told Rai Radio 1: "It was above all a wish for Milan, of which I am a fan.

"In reality, Milan-Napoli will be a very balanced and very uncertain match.

"Would it be nice to meet in Istanbul? For Madrid, yes, I think also for Milan, but everyone wants to get to Istanbul."

In his pre-match press conference ahead of the first leg of the quarter-final tie against Chelsea, Ancelotti again outlined a desire to meet Maldini in the final – particularly with the host city not holding fond memories for the pair, who lost in Istanbul against Liverpool in the 2005 final.

"Paolo and Istanbul is not a pretty memory especially in 2005," Ancelotti added. "I have all the love in the world for Maldini, he has been my captain and my partner and if we can see each other on my birthday [the day of the final] it will be very good".

For Milan, the tie against Napoli is a chance to build upon their recent thrashing of the runaway Serie A leaders in a game that is certain to be an emotional one.

Because of this, Ancelotti explained that motivational speeches are not required ahead of the game and pre-match discussions should be purely tactical.

"In these types of games the players are going to feel the pressure, they are going to be very motivated, so you don't have to make motivational speeches," he explained.

"The speech that is going to be made is linked to the strategy of the game, trying to give clear and simple indications to the players, so that they feel involved: it is also a way to take a little off the pressure that these games inevitably put on you."

Carlo Ancelotti is saddened by Chelsea's struggles this season but expects his former side to bounce back under Frank Lampard.

The Real Madrid head coach faces off against the Blues in the Champions League quarter-finals, the first leg taking place at Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

While domestic form has not been the best for Madrid, heading into the tie on the back of a 3-2 reverse against Villarreal at the weekend, their form in Europe in recent years has been devastating.

Los Blancos have won the Champions League in five of the last nine seasons, the most recent of which was last year, and boast vast experience.

However, Ancelotti does not believe that will have an impact in the two legs against Chelsea, where he expects the Blues to provide a stern test.

"I'm sad. I have great memories of my time at the club. I spent two very good years there," he said at a press conference when asked about Chelsea's poor season.

"I don't think my experience will change what's going to happen tomorrow. Lampard has been a great player that I coached for two years.

"He knows this type of game well and how to prepare his team. It's been a week, but he's going to do well in the time he's at Chelsea.

"We had a really bad time here [last year] and we have to respect Chelsea. They are not going through a good moment, but they have a very good team.

"Sometimes when you're worse, you bring out the best."

Madrid faced Chelsea at the same stage last year, losing 3-2 at home in the second leg but progressing as 5-4 aggregate victors, while the semi-final against Manchester City was similarly dramatic.

Playing the first game of home this time around allows Madrid to potentially build a lead to defend at Stamford Bridge in the second leg, which Ancelotti highlighted.

"We have to think it's a 180-minute game and try to do well tomorrow. It's not decisive, but we can help manage the second leg better," he added.

"We are looking forward to returning to the Champions League and living a magical night at the Bernabeu.

"We have to take advantage of the fact that we play the first game. I think we played well at home and away last year, we did well in every game and deserved to win the title.

"We had to come back, and we had more energy in the finals. We deserved to win the Champions League last year and we will try to deserve this one if we play better than others.

"They were difficult moments against Chelsea and City but we didn't give up the games and ended up winning the title."

Carlo Ancelotti admitted his Real Madrid side were not '100 per cent motivated' as they fell to a 3-2 LaLiga defeat to Villarreal.

Samuel Chukwueze's inspired performance led the Yellow Submarine to a memorable win at the Santiago Bernabeu, marking the first time they have secured a LaLiga double against Los Blancos.

While Villarreal had everything to play for as they continue their charge to achieve a top-four finish and Champions League football, Madrid's attention is focused on other competitions.

Ancelotti's side swept Barcelona aside on Wednesday to secure a spot in the Copa del Rey final, while a Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea lies ahead.

Sitting 12 points behind leaders Barca, Ancelotti admitted it is difficult for his team to be motivated for their league games.

"It was a difficult game, it was difficult to recover the ball, they handle it well, we had opportunities to make it 3-1, and there we could lower the pace of the game," he told reporters.

"But it did not happen and we did not defend well. The truth is it was hard for us to be 100 per cent motivated, it is quite normal."

Ancelotti was adamant that a similar situation would not occur in their upcoming Champions League clash against Chelsea, where he expects a response from his side.

"It was known that it could be complicated, it has happened and Wednesday is another story," he added. "The temperature of the boiler has dropped a little today, but on Wednesday it will be at its peak."

Carlo Ancelotti feels coaching Barcelona is "not an option" due to his loyalties to Real Madrid, who he labelled the "best club in the world."

Ancelotti has won a LaLiga title and a pair of Champions League trophies with Madrid across two spells, though there are rumours his time at the club could be coming to an end, with Brazil and Chelsea said to be keen on the 63-year-old.

Despite all the talk of the next destination in Ancelotti's hugely successful managerial career, he ruled out ever joining Madrid's Clasico rivals.

"For me, coaching Barcelona is impossible," Ancelotti told reporters at his pre-match press conference ahead of Madrid's LaLiga meeting with Villarreal on Saturday. 

"After 1,272 games [as a coach], I don't have to prove anything.

"I wouldn't change myself. You have to respect my personal history and that of the clubs.

"I won't change myself for anyone because I feel very comfortable here, where the people love me a lot. It's the best club in the world.

"I am loved and I feel secure, so there is no reason for me to change Real Madrid for Barcelona."

Ancelotti's side thumped Barca 4-0 in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final at Camp Nou on Wednesday to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit and confirm their place in the final against Osasuna.

Yet, Madrid lag 12 points behind the Catalan giants in LaLiga and their hopes of retaining the title look all but over.

Ancelotti does not feel his side have been significantly worse than last season, and instead credited Barca for their improvement, saying: "We want to end the season well.

"We only have four less points in the league than this stage last year... Barcelona has many more. We want to continue fighting for the league until the end."

Ancelotti's potential Madrid exit at the end of the season may be one of several major departures at the club, with the contracts of veterans such as Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema set to expire at the conclusion of this campaign.

The Italian believes the trio will extend their stays, though he remains confident Madrid will continue to enjoy future success even if they do opt to leave.

"I believe they will stay, but the day they stop, something is going to change," Ancelotti added. "[But] we have to look for the club's future along a different line, not the way [they play] with Kroos and Modric.

"We have fantastic youngsters like [Aurelien] Tchouameni, [Federico] Valverde, [Eduardo] Camavinga, [Dani] Ceballos, who are going to start an era, different from the others, of course."

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