Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has dismissed speculation linking him with a move for Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling.
The 19-year-old, who has risen to prominence for both the Reds and England in the last 12 months, is yet to agree a new deal at Anfield and there have been suggestions that Los Blancos were keen to lure him to Spain.
But former Chelsea boss Ancelotti has pointed out that they already have plenty to choose from in attacking areas so he sees no reason to sign Sterling, despite acknowledging his undoubted pedigree.
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"Sterling is a player of great quality, certainly one of the best in Europe," he told The Sun on Sunday. "But we already have extraordinary talent here."
Given Cristiano Ronaldo notched his 15th league goal in seven games as Real Madrid romped to a 5-0 win over Levante on Saturday it is easy to see why improvements in that area may not be a priority for Ancelotti – especially when he also has the likes of Gareth Bale, James Rodridguez, Karim Benzema and highly-rated youngster Jese.
"To think of another striker for the Real Madrid attack is really extremely difficult," he added. "It’s clear that Sterling is not in our plans."
The 55-year-old Italian is set to get a much closer look at Sterling when his side travel to Merseyside to face Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Ancelotti has insisted that he will make no special plans to deal with the threat posed by Sterling because he instead prefers to focus on the danger posed by teams as a unit.
But one player in the Liverpool ranks who may capture Ancelotti’s imagination is Steven Gerrard after the Italian admitted he dreamt of pairing the former England captain with Andrea Pirlo during his time at the Rossoneri.
Ancelotti, who won the Champions League twice during his eight-year spell at Milan from 2001 to 2009, revealed that he made failed overtures to sign the 34-year-old.
He said: "We had sounded him out but Gerrard’s bond with Liverpool was unbreakable.
"I don’t remember exactly what year it was but we did try. Of course, I wanted to pair him up with Pirlo, it was a fantastic combination. Putting Gerrard in midfield with Pirlo. It would have been fantastic."