Carlo Ancelotti has shed some light on the 2014 prospects of both Xabi Alonso and Iker Casillas, each of whom has been linked with a departure from the Bernabeu this winter.
The Real Madrid boss stated that he believes Alonso—out of contract in June—will put pen to paper on an extension before the end of the season, while Casillas will remain at the club until the end of the term.
About Xabi Alonso we believe that in the end we will find a solution and the club and the player will reach an agreement. The case of Casillas is very clear: he will play in the Champions League and also in the Copa del Rey.
There is nothing new in that field. No players are going to leave, and we are not going to sign anybody. For us the market is closed.
Both players have been fervently associated with moves outside La Liga, Alonso's potentially cut-price signature attracting particular interest, with Jose Mourinho reported by the Mirror's Ben Burrows as seeking a reunion with his former Los Blancos playmaker.
However, while the 32-year-old remains a prominent part of Real's first-team plans, Casillas, also 32, has found himself spending an unfamiliar amount of time on the sidelines this past year.
The former Spanish No. 1 is yet to make a La Liga appearance this season and has found his path to the starting spot blocked by Diego Lopez. The ex-Sevilla man was initially brought in last January as little more than cover while Casillas nursed a hand injury.
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Back in October, Spanish daily newspaper Marca reported on a lip-read conversation between Casillas and fellow Spanish international Pepe Reina, where the two talked about the former's chances of leaving his current setting. Despite his compatriot's support, Casillas firmly denied any chances of an exit.
Both veterans have strong ties to the Madrid club but find themselves in very different circumstances as things stand. Alonso is sorely needed by the team, particularly after Sami Khedira was ruled out for the rest of the season, but is seemingly uncertain over whether to extend his stay.
Casillas, meanwhile, just seeks more involvement at a club where he's spent his entire career.
Well-regarded journalist Gabriele Marcotti recently highlighted some of the star names, including Alonso, who are set to become free agents in the summer:
Stars out of contract: in June: Xabi Alonso, Victor Valdes, Patric Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Bacary Sagna. (via @PIERPARDO )— Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) January 1, 2014
In the end, however, Ancelotti's opinion will bear most significance in this scenario and it seems the ex-Milan star is pleased with his current crop of players in the Spanish capital.
For Los Merengues' boss, January will be all about retaining what is already at his disposal, seemingly making it highly unlikely that Alonso will find his way to Stamford Bridge, or any other English club.