Carlo Ancelotti announced he wants to stay at Real Madrid "for the rest of my life" ahead of a Clasico that could have major repercussions for his future at the club.
The former Milan, Bayern Munich and Chelsea boss signed a three-year contract when he arrived from Everton in June 2021 to replace Zinedine Zidane.
However, if Madrid finish this season empty-handed, there will inevitably be doubts over whether the Italian should stay in command.
They won the Champions League and LaLiga last term, and remain firmly in the hunt for a defence of the European title, having reached the quarter-finals, where Chelsea await them.
However, should they lose to Barcelona at Camp Nou on Sunday, Madrid will be 12 points behind their fierce rivals with 12 rounds of LaLiga games remaining. They also trail the Catalans 1-0 after the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final.
Ancelotti realises there is no guarantee Madrid will let him see out his contract through to 2024, particularly if they end this campaign without silverware, but he believes his team can finish the season with a flourish and flip the narrative.
"It is an evaluation that the club must make. I would stay at this club for the rest of my life," Ancelotti said. "It is impossible, but I would like to. It is a decision of the club, and it will take it at the end of the season.
"My thought is I want to continue, I hope it's like that. But I enjoy every day that the club wants me here. If you want it to be for three months, I'll enjoy it; if it's for three years, the same. The clear thing is that I'll be grateful for the rest of my life."
Ancelotti, 63, has also bossed Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain in a stellar career, and Madrid would be hard pushed to find a more authoritative figure. This is his second spell at the club, with Madrid president Florentino Perez a firm admirer.
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There is a theory that Madrid coaches that fall short of winning titles have their fate already written.
But Ancelotti said: "The written rules change, and the unwritten ones, too. I am convinced that we are going to win something, so the topic is over."
His first stint as Madrid boss ended when the 2014-15 season yielded UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup titles but not the key trophy objectives: LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League.
Madrid have won five of their last six matches against Barcelona in LaLiga – a 3-1 home success in October among them – having not won any of the previous seven.
Those recent wins have included victories on their last two league visits to Camp Nou, and Ancelotti's side will be attempting to become just the second Madrid team to win three times in a row at the home of their Clasico rivals in LaLiga.
The only time it was previously achieved was in a run from January 1963 to February 1965.