Soccer-Real Madrid say they will play in Club World Cup as Ancelotti takes back comments


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Final - Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - June 1, 2024 Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti celebrates with the trophy after winning the Champions League REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

(Reuters) -Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said his comments to an Italian daily that Real Madrid would decline FIFA's invitation to participate in the Club World Cup had not been interpreted the way he intended, as the La Liga side reiterated its desire to play in the tournament.

Ancelotti had been quoted by Il Giornale in an interview on Monday as saying that FIFA had undervalued the compensation the 15-times Champions League winners should receive in the revamped tournament with 32 teams.

"FIFA can forget it, footballers and clubs will not participate in that tournament," Ancelotti was quoted as saying.

However, the Italian distanced himself from those comments in a social media post on Monday.

"Nothing could be further from my interest than to reject the possibility of playing in a tournament that I consider to be a great opportunity to continue fighting for major titles with Real Madrid," he said.

Real Madrid said their participation in the tournament was never in question.

"Our club will take part, as planned, in this official competition which we face with pride and with the utmost enthusiasm to once again make our millions of fans all over the world dream of a new title," they said in a statement.

Ancelotti, one of the most successful football managers in Europe, has won the Club World Cup three times and the Champions League five times.

"A single Real Madrid match is worth 20 million and FIFA wants to give us that amount for the whole cup. Negative. Like us, other clubs will refuse the invitation," he had been quoted as saying in the interview.

Ancelotti, who led Real to a Champions League and LaLiga double last season, also said there had been a lot of pressure on managers lately but he had managed to stay passionate about his job.

"I see nothing particularly new, this has always been our job but the case of (former Liverpool manager Juergen) Klopp is significant. The pressure continues, the burden of responsibility becomes too heavy, obsession takes over," he said.

"I keep my passion, that's how I live the match, the game, my job; I've always carried this balance with me. I've overcome moments that weren't always positive; after my experience with Everton I was off the radar, they thought I was finished, I was old."

With all three European club competitions expanded to 36 teams from next season, the Club World Cup has come under scrutiny for saturating the football calendar.

In May, FIFA said they would not consider rescheduling their 32-team Club World Cup after global players' union FIFPRO and the World Leagues Association (WLA) threatened legal action if they did not review their plans.

(Reporting by Shifa Jahan, Camilla Borri and Chiranjit Ojha; editing by Clare Fallon)

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