Okay, so he won the club’s 10th European Cup the last time he was in charge but the team at his disposal in 2014 is worlds away from the group he inherits now and there may well be no new signings on the way to bolster it.
Carlo Ancelotti won Real Madrid’s 10th European Cup the last time he was in charge
The Italian had the likes of Gareth Bale (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo (right) in their prime
When he takes charge of his first session this summer Ramos is unlikely to be there with his contract now in its final month. Marcelo will still be kicking around, but heading into his last year at the club and having not been at his best now for several seasons. Di Maria and Ronaldo are long gone and Bale will have returned from Tottenham, but like Marcelo, to play out the final year of his contract.
Madrid still have some star quality but it’s currently dormant. Ancelotti will have to revive Eden Hazard after his two false starts as a Madrid player.
He will also have to forge a new defence perhaps around the partnership of David Alaba and Eder Militao. He will have to hope that Uruguayan midfielder Fede Valverde continues to develop and that at least one of Madrid’s three young forwards Vinicius, Rodrygo and Marco Asensio can really push on.
And maybe his biggest hope of all will be that the club can sell so that in late August they can somehow salvage a big signing from the financial turmoil that they find themselves.
But the current group Ancelotti will inherit now is worlds away from that victorious side
Ancelotti will have to revive Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic after their false starts as Madrid players
With the squad so bereft of top players in their prime the other question being asked in Madrid, once the misty-eyed recollections of Ancelotti signing the club anthem to a packed Santiago Bernabeu after winning the Champions League had passed, was is he really the right man for the task in hand?
Ancelotti is Zidane only 13 years his senior. Both have won three Champions League as coaches, both have found it harder to win leagues (Zidane two, and Ancelotti only four), both are masters of man-management and fostering united dressing rooms, but neither are particularly adept at bringing through young players or intervening tactically when the individual talent of the squad falls short.
If Zidane was not to president Florentino Perez’s liking then why hire someone so similar? And furthermore, why when he fired him once already back in 2015? Perez was asked in the press conference following that sacking why he had got rid of Ancelotti and he said he didn’t know.
The likelihood is that he did know, but preferred not to air the dirty laundry quite so publicly. The Madrid board believed Ancelotti had become complacent. Training sessions were too lax.
Ancelotti (left) is Zinedine Zidane (right), only 13 years his senior, with both having won three Champions Leagues
The players’ fitness was not at the level that would enable them to compete in the Champions League and it was frowned upon that he appeared to be drawing heavily on old friends and family members in his ample coaching staff.
His son Davide Ancelotti will take his place as assistant coach once more, but veteran assistants from six years ago Giovanni Mauri and Villiam Vecchi are no longer part of the Italian’s boot room.
Zidane’s fitness coach Antonio Pintus is hugely respected at the club and will remain. And a new number two will have to be found.
The idea that team-Ancelotti was a little too laid back in his last spell at Madrid followed him to Bayern Munich where the cigarette smoking rising from training ground spaces not far from the players’ dressing rooms was frowned upon.
The plan is to sell centre-back Raphael Varane (centre) who is entering the final year of his deal
All eyes will be on Valdebebas when pre-season begins. First to see how Ancelotti shapes up this time around, and secondly to see what players he has at his disposal.
There are 33 currently at the club including players out on loan. The plan is to sell Raphael Varane and to not renew Ramos’s deal, leaving Alaba, Militao, Nacho and youth team captain Victor Chust as the four centre-backs.
The club are keen for Isco to move on although there are currently no takers for the 29-year-old former Spain international.
Elsewhere in midfield Ancelotti must decide if he wants Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos back from Arsenal. The decision would be taken out of his hands if Arsenal make a bid for the Norwegian and Madrid felt they needed to accept it.
The club are keen for Isco to move on although there are currently no takers for the 29-year-old
The 19-year-old Japan international Take Kubo will be loaned out again. Brahim Diaz could stay permanently at Milan if the clubs can decide a fee. Similarly Roma will keep Borja Mayoral if they can satisfy Madrid’s price demands.
Luka Jovic may well come back with Ancelotti tasked with getting the best out of player who cost more (€60m) than anyone would now pay for him.
And it is in attack where Ancelotti will immediately spot the concerning shortfall in options. Now that Benzema seems to be back in the international fold will he be as able to play every game for Madrid as he has been in the last few seasons? And how does the club cope without him when Jovic is likely to be the only alternative?
If Real Madrid get a good price for Varane – they want around 45m euros for a player in the last year of his contract – then that money, coupled with the loss of Ramos from the wage bill might make room for a new recruit but Paris Saint-Germain seem intent on keeping Kylian Mbappe regardless of whether he signs a new deal so any hopes of signing him might have to be put back to the following season when he could be available on a free transfer.
Ancelotti must decide if he wants Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos back from Arsenal
That will leave Madrid looking at lesser mortals to come in and excite the masses as they get ready to flood back through the gates of the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ancelotti ought to have the advantage of 80,000 supporters behind the team when the season starts – something Zidane was denied for the last season and a half.
Of course a noisy arena will only work in his favour if things go well. Memories of the 2013-14 season when the Copa del Rey and Champions League were won are nice now but they will not sustain him in his second stint. The demands are the same, the tools he has to do the job are very different.
PSG seem intent on keeping Kylian Mbappe regardless of whether he signs a new deal