LONDON (AFP) - Manchester United began their search for a new manager on Wednesday, with newspaper reports claiming that Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has emerged as a candidate to succeed David Moyes.
Several British newspapers reported that the Italian was being considered for the vacancy, along with Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal, who emerged as the early favourite for the post following Moyes' sacking on Tuesday.
However, whereas Ancelotti, the former Chelsea manager, is less than a year into a three-year contract at Madrid, van Gaal is scheduled to step down from his position with Holland after this year's World Cup in Brazil.
Van Gaal, 62, has expressed an interest in working in England and former Dutch forward Bryan Roy, who worked under him at Ajax, believes that he would be a perfect fit at United.
"He has definitely still got the hunger," Roy, now a coach at Ajax, told the Daily Mirror.
"He will never turn down Manchester United, believe me. I think it's the job he really wants. And he will be a revelation at Manchester United."
Speaking shortly after news of Moyes' dismissal broke on Tuesday, Ancelotti expressed sympathy for the former Everton manager.
"I feel for David Moyes, but in general this is the life of a coach," said the 54-year-old, whose side play Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals later on Wednesday.
"At times things don't go well and you are sacked. I'm sure David Moyes will look for, and find, another job."
Diego Simeone, the current Atletico Madrid coach, is another figure to have been linked with the vacancy at Old Trafford.
Meanwhile, reports claim that former United manager Alex Ferguson will play an active role in the search for a new head coach, despite having been chiefly responsible for the decision to appoint Moyes.
Ferguson, who is now a United director, personally recommended Moyes to the club's board after announcing his retirement in May last year.
Moyes, 50, was sacked after a wretched debut campaign that saw defending champions United slump to seventh place in the Premier League table, denying them a place in next season's Champions League.
Long-serving midfielder Ryan Giggs has been placed in interim charge of first-team affairs "until a permanent appointment can be made", United said.
The 40-year-old Welshman, who became a member of Moyes' coaching staff at the beginning of the season, is expected to address the media for the first time since taking up his new role on Friday.
Giggs will be assisted by Phil Neville and Chris Woods, both of whom kept their jobs on United's back-room staff despite having been brought in by Moyes, as well as youth-team coach and former team-mate Nicky Butt.
However, Steve Round and Jimmy Lumsden, who were also appointed by Moyes, have both been fired.
Another of Giggs's former team-mates, Paul Scholes, has also been drafted in to provide support.
"It's great to see Paul Scholes here at the Aon Training Complex today, assisting Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville," United said in a message on the club's Twitter feed on Wednesday.
News of Moyes' departure met with a favourable reaction on the New York Stock Exchange, where United's shares rose 6 per cent to their highest level since Ferguson's retirement.