With Italy out of the World Cup thanks to their shocking defeat in the UEFA playoff round to North Macedonia, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti is left to find another team to support at this year's big tournament.
As such, he has thrown his support behind Canada, backing the North American nation appearing in its first World Cup in 36 years.
"I will cheer for Canada in the World Cup as they have been missing for many years and it is my second home," Ancelotti said while speaking to Italian radio station Rai Radio. "The President of the Canadian Federation is from Abruzzo, so everyone cheers for Canada."
The 62-year-old Ancelotti has deep personal ties to the CONCACAF side that have overtaken his Italian nationality and sporting ties to Spain, Germany, and England.
Why is Carlo Ancelotti supporting Canada at 2022 World Cup?
As Ancelotti said, Canada is his "second home."
The Italian married Canadian-born businesswoman Mariann Auger McClay in 2014 in Vancouver.
After leaving Real Madrid that year, Ancelotti stated he wished to take a year off from coaching to rest and recover from a medical procedure. Following his departure from the Spanish club, the Italian relocated to Vancouver and spent his time off there before agreeing to take charge of Bayern Munich in the summer of 2015.
The Italian-born Canadian soccer executive that Ancelotti is referring to is current CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani, who is of Italian descent and grew up in Canada. He served as Canadian Soccer Association president from 2012-2017 until his election as CONCACAF president.
“[Qualifying for the World Cup] makes our country, not Canada Soccer, not the men’s national team, but our country relevant to 211 nations where football is life,” Montagliani told The Athletic on April 5. “We will be looked upon differently because we are a footballing nation, because football matters.
“It's the biggest sporting story in Canadian history.”
Carlo Ancelotti links to MLS jobs
Because of his ties to Canada and his second home in Vancouver, Ancelotti has been occasionally linked to MLS jobs in the past, but never with any true sincerity as he's been continually employed by major European powers.
He was most closely linked to Inter Miami as David Beckham looked for the club's first manager, but that never materialized. Ancelotti did, however, say he would consider jobs in North America in the future.
"I have a three-year contract with Napoli," Ancelotti said at the time, "but I think the MLS is improving and could be a good experience in the future."
That, alongside his ties to western Canada, have led some to speculate he could seek out the Vancouver Whitecaps job in the future, when his European journey is complete.