Real Madrid have kickstarted their preparations for the season ahead with Carlo Ancelotti continuing to lead the team, despite there being some doubts about his future in the past.
Ancelotti has also shown the desire to continue at the Bernabeu beyond 2024 when his contract expires.
But that has not deterred Real Madrid from seeking out potential replacement candidates.
Xabi Alonso eyed as Ancelotti’s replacement
One of the potential candidates Real Madrid are looking at, to replace Ancelotti, is former midfielder and club legend Xabi Alonso.
The former Spanish international has impressed the club administration with his work at Bayer Leverkusen and is seen as the favourite to take over from Ancelotti next year.
Alonso is well aware of the Real Madrid environment, having played for Los Blancos between 2009 to 2014. During his time at the Bernabeu, he featured in almost 250 competitive matches for the club.
After hanging up his boots, Xabi Alonso has found immense success coaching Bayer Leverkusen, after stints with Real Madrid’s youth sides and Real Sociedad ‘B’ team.
The Spaniard led Die Werkself to sixth place in the Bundesliga last season while also guiding them to the semi-final of the UEFA Europa League.
Alonso comments on Real Madrid links
However, in a recent interview, Alonso remained coy about his future, expressing his happiness at Bayer Leverkusen.
“Real Madrid? Everything in its own time. Now I’m here, I’m very happy and whatever comes in the future, we’ll see,” he said (h/t MARCA).
“Normally in football when you think in the medium to long term you lose focus of what is closest to you and right now I only think about what we have here.”
It is guaranteed that Alonso will continue to lead the Leverkusen side in the coming season.
And, it will be interesting to see whether or not Real Madrid do end up approaching the Spanish tactician come the end of next season, given as the club is open to sticking with Ancelotti beyond 2024.
Bellingham on his special assist in Girona 0-3 Real Madrid: “Been watching Luka every day”
Real Madrid usurped the top spot in the La Liga standings from arch-rivals FC Barcelona as they defeated Girona 3-0 away at Estadi Montilivi.
It was a fine performance from Carlo Ancelotti’s men against Michel’s side, with the returning Jude Bellingham leading the way for his team.
After being benched against Las Palmas in midweek, the England international returned to the starting XI today and turned in yet another Man of the Match display for Real Madrid.
It all started with Joselu opening the scoring just 15 minutes into the game, with Bellingham assisting the goal with a special, outside-of-the-boot pass from the left side, bringing back memories of Luka Modric doing something similar a few years ago.
Talking about that special pass, Bellingham said: “I’ve been watching Luka every day for months. I just want to be creative. It took the pressure off us at the start.”
On the match and the result, the 20-year-old stated that it was a good day across the board for Real Madrid, as he said: “It was an important win. They were doing very well. We made a statement of intent to La Liga. Three goals, a clean sheet….”
It has been a truly remarkable start to life at Real Madrid for Bellingham and expressing how he feels to play for the Merengues, he exclaimed:
“I feel very good. I have freedom of movement and I’m enjoying football. Whenever I put on this shirt I always try to do my best.”
Apart from assisting Joselu’s opener, Bellingham also got his name on the scoresheet in the second period. Talking about his goal, the wonderkid said:
“It wasn’t a very good finish. I could have scored some more, but the important thing is the victory.”
The strike meant that Bellingham now has seven goals and two assists across all competitions for Real Madrid. Reflecting on his brilliant start, he said:
“It’s a good start, not bad. I would like to continue on this path and I won’t always score or assist, but I will always give my best.”
Bellingham’s celebration has been a huge hit, with kids in school, players from other clubs, and many others mimicking it. When asked how his special celebration originated, he replied:
“I don’t know where I first celebrated. I think it was with Birmingham. It’s an inspiration to see kids doing it in schools. It’s a wonderful thing.”