Real Madrid Assures After Carlo Ancelotti’s Words That It Will Participate in the New Club World Cup

Carlo Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti (Credit: Getty Images)

If the football calendar was not burning enough, for the summer of 2025 FIFA has called a new tournament: a Club World Cup in the United States with 32 teams for one month (from June 15 to July 13). An appointment that, a year from now, still has pending issues and that this Monday caused a carousel of statements, denials, and clarifications in Real Madrid itself.

The day dawned with statements by Carlo Ancelotti in the Italian media Il Giornale in which he raised the level of the protest so much that he assured that his team would not attend. “FIFA forgets: the players and clubs will not participate. A single Real Madrid match is worth twenty million and FIFA wants to give us that amount for the entire cup. Like us, others will reject the invitation,” it was published.

In the Bernabéu offices, much softer from the beginning of the complaint, they explained that the project still has a few aspects of being closed. “This World Cup needs many meetings with all parties. For now, it is a ghost tournament. There are no tied stadiums or television rights,” Madrid sources pointed out, although they understood that in the end, it would be “a good outcome.” In any case, and given the commotion of Carletto’s statements, the entity guaranteed its competition hours later through an official statement. “At no time has participation been questioned,” he clarified in the note. A point that dragged the Reggiolo coach, who pointed out that there had been a mistake in interpretation: “My words have not been interpreted in the way I intended. Nothing could be further from my interest than rejecting the probability of playing in a tournament that could be a great opportunity to continue fighting for big titles with Real Madrid,” he tried to explain.

Beyond this white-key situation, the creation of this competition, which has received opposition from the Spanish League through Javier Tebas, does raise questions that have yet to be defined. Right now, this World Cup still does not have specific venues, and the television contract has not been signed, although according to ongoing negotiations, it could reach one billion euros. The competition dates, in any case, do put on the table a serious problem of fitting into the usual calendar of the major European Leagues. The tournament is scheduled to end on July 13, when the teams have already started preseason. If the champion or finalist of the old continent went on vacation for three weeks, he would return to activity when his League would be about to start. For example, the 24-25 League will most likely start on Friday, August 16.

The entry of this new tournament in the month of July also raises another point to be resolved: what to do with the players’ contracts that end on June 30, the usual conclusion date, at least, in the continent’s big teams.

A design almost identical to the national team’s World Cup

Of the 32 teams planned, there are 12 European teams with a guaranteed ticket: Chelsea, City, Bayern, PSG, Inter, Porto, Benfica, Dortmund, Juventus, Atlético and Salzburg, in addition to Real Madrid. They are all part of the ECA (European Clubs Association), except the whites, and have shown themselves willing to participate.

In addition to this dozen, the rest of the participants with a guaranteed place are Al Ahly (Egypt), Wydad (Morocco), ES Tunis (Tunisia), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa), Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia), Urawa Red Diamonds (Japan), Al Ain (United Arab Emirates), Ulsan (South Korea), Monterrey (Mexico), Seattle Sounders (USA), Club León (Mexico), Auckland City (New Zealand), Palmeiras, Flamengo and Fluminense (Brazil), River Plate (Argentina) and Pachuca (Mexico). The other four will come from the Copa Libertadores, the host country, and Conmebol (South American Football Confederation).

The competition system devised is almost identical to a national team World Cup: groups of four squads of which two would advance to the round of 16, and from there on to a single match. The only difference is that the third-place match would be eliminated.

The conquest of the Champions League a week ago opens a horizon for Madrid of seven competitions for the next year, because the creation of this expanded Club World Cup does not eliminate another of the classic commitments for the European champion: in this case, under the name of the Intercontinental Cup, a substitute for the usual much shorter Club World Cup that used to be held at the end of the year. On December 18, at a venue yet to be determined, the whites will seek this title. Unlike other years, they go directly to the final. The winner of the Copa Libertadores must overcome previous rounds.

Read More: Brazil Beat Mexico Prior to the Copa America

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