Ancelotti: Madrid will reject Club World Cup place

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has said the club will refuse to take part in the first edition of FIFA’s new Club World Cup tournament next summer, citing a lack of financial incentive.

The expanded competition is set to take place in the United States in June and July 2025, featuring 32 teams from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania.

A total of 29 of the 32 places have already been filled, with Madrid qualifying by winning the Champions League title in 2022 and 2024.

However, in an interview with Italian newspaper Il Giornale on Monday, Ancelotti said Madrid — along with other, unnamed clubs — were not planning to take part.

“Players and clubs won’t participate in that tournament,” Ancelotti said. “One single Real Madrid game is worth €20 million, and FIFA want to give us that amount for the entire competition. Negative.

“Just like us, other clubs will refuse the invitation.”

The revamped FIFA Club World Cup is the flagship initiative for world football’s governing body, as they look to replicate the success of club competitions such as the Champions League and the Copa Libertadores.

The last edition of the Club World Cup’s previous incarnation, in Saudi Arabia in December 2023, featured just seven teams and was won by Manchester City, who beat Brazilian side Fluminense in the final.

The new format, first announced in 2022, is set to include 12 teams from UEFA, six from CONMEBOL, four each from CONCACAF, CAF and the AFC, one from Oceania’s OFC and one from the host country.

Those teams qualify via either a “champions pathway” — winning their continent’s club competition — or a “ranking pathway” based on previous performance.

The tournament has faced criticism from domestic leagues and players’ unions, who argue that players are being overworked.

Speaking last month, FIFA president Gianni Infantino rejected those claims.

“FIFA is organizing around 1% of the games of the top clubs in the world,” Infantino said. “When it comes to the national teams, it is very similar.

“If you look at all the national team games around the world, we still have between 1% and 2% of the matches which are organized by FIFA. All other matches, 98% to 99%, are organized by other organizations.”

“With this 1% or 2% matches that FIFA organizes, FIFA is financing football all over the world… I hope that these figures will stop this futile debate.”

Madrid coach Ancelotti is on holiday in Vancouver, Canada, after a season which saw him lead the club to a Champions League and LaLiga double.

He told Il Giornale that he had not given up hope of convincing Toni Kroos to change his mind on retirement, after the midfielder said he would hang up his boots after playing in this summer’s European Championship with Germany.

“Unfortunately Kroos has decided to stop, he is a German in his choices but he will continue to live in Madrid,” Ancelotti said. “I told him that if, in the autumn, he had to change his mind, a phone call and we’ll start again.”

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