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Real Madrid, Ancelotti deny Club World Cup boycott

Yasser Bakhsh - FIFA / FIFA / Getty

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Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti denied on Monday that the Champions League winners would refuse to play in next season's expanded Club World Cup, claiming comments he made to an Italian newspaper had been misinterpreted.

"In my interview with Il Giornale, my words about the FIFA Club World Cup have not been interpreted in the way I intended," Ancelotti posted on X.

"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 great titles with Real Madrid."

Ancelotti had been quoted in Monday's edition of Il Giornale saying that "players and clubs will not participate" in the new tournament.

"A single Real Madrid match is worth 20 million euros and FIFA wants to give us this amount for the entire Cup," he is quoted as saying. "So no. Like us, other clubs will refuse the invitation."

Real Madrid, who last season won the La Liga title under Ancelotti as well as a 15th European Cup and Champions League title, were also quick to distance themselves from the remarks.

"Real Madrid C. F. would like to announce that at no time has there been any question regarding our participation in the new Club World Cup to be organised by FIFA in the coming 2024/2025 season," the club said in a statement on its website.

"Our club will therefore take part, as planned, in this official competition and we are proud and excited to be involved in it and we will once again inspire our millions of fans all over the world with another trophy."

The expanded 32-team Club World Cup is proposed to take place next summer, adding to an already congested calendar for players.

England's Professional Footballers' Association has warned FIFA that players could go on strike.

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