Ancelotti's reality check
Carlo Ancelotti breezed into Stamford Bridge armed with a tinder dry sense of humour and a self-confessed love of "irony" - which may help him see the funny side of Manchester City trying to strong-arm Chelsea into selling John Terry.
Chelsea, the club that once ruled the markets with a wave of Roman Abramovich's mighty chequebook, are suddenly on the receiving end of financial muscle being wielded by Manchester City's Abu Dhabi rulers.
This, illustrated by the once unthinkable notion that a symbolic Stamford Bridge figure could be spirited away by a club that cannot even offer him European football, is the new reality that greets Ancelotti as he starts his Chelsea reign.
If it was a state of affairs that unduly concerned Ancelotti as he was presented in a Stamford Bridge lounge, it did not show as he turned on the charm at a media briefing that even ended in an impromptu burst of applause.
Ancelotti could have risked every penny of his lucrative new Chelsea contract on an instant confrontation with the Terry question at his official coronation - and so it proved.
Terry's continuing association with a move to Eastlands had the potential to cast a large cloud over what Chelsea wanted to be the celebration of a new era, but Ancelotti used humour and strong words to handle a delicate matter.
Ancelotti, whose permanently raised left eyebrow adds to an underlying sense of mischief, provoked a collective double-take when he announced: "John Terry is a symbol of this team, but I don't know if he will be captain next season."
Cue dramatic delay for maximum effect before announcing: "Naturally I like to joke..."
The serious message followed, with Ancelotti insisting England's captain will also lead Chelsea "forever" and that "there is no price for Terry."
The slight snag is that there seems to be no price for Manchester City either as they prepare to raise the stakes all the way in pursuit of a scorched earth transfer policy.
This is the sort of irony Ancelotti might appreciate as he studies Chelsea history and discovers how their own fiscal firepower once steamrollered a succession of clubs around the world into parting with top talent.
Ambitious owner. Countless millions. No target out of reach. All clubs fair game. For Abramovich of recent vintage read Khaldoon Al Mubarak and the Abu Dhabi United group.
Ancelotti gained instant respect for insisting his media conferences will all be staged in English, and his insistence that Chelsea want their captain to stay for eternity, or a form of footballing eternity, puts the ball neatly back into Terry's court.
Chelsea's new coach has made the club's position clear. Now it is time for Terry to make his statement of intent, ending a period of silence that has only fuelled speculation.
If he wants to stay at Chelsea, he only has to say. If he wishes to maintain silence, doubts will continue.
The smart money remains on Terry securing an improved Chelsea contract, although not on the outlandish terms apparently on offer at Eastlands, but Ancelotti played his club's hand shrewdly.
Of course if City are deadly serious, there may come a time when it actually makes sense for Chelsea to consider a bid for a defender who is 28 and whose natural bravery has resulted in his body taking some pretty heavy-duty punishment in recent years.
But, for now, Ancelotti expects Terry to usher in another new dawn at Stamford Bridge.
If first impressions are anything to go by, Chelsea have acquired a humble man and a serious coach - with all proceedings watched over by the Stamford Bridge hierarchy including chairman Bruce Buck, chief executive Peter Kenyon and director Frank Arnesen.
It was a happy scene and a united front. Then again, it was a happy scene and united front almost 12 months ago when we all gathered in Cobham for the introduction of Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Scolari cracked a few gags, spoke glowingly of the future and impressed everyone. And was gone in seven months.
Ancelotti knows the price on the ticket. Scolari's fate held no terrors for him and a query about whether he understood that he simply had to win was met with a firm "yes."
And his laconic manner suggests pressure sits easily on Ancelotti's shoulders. He survived the years at AC Milan in close proximity to the mercurial Silvio Berlusconi, so a streak of inner steel and a sense of perspective can be taken as read.
A member of the Italian media, who Ancelotti insisted also spoke in English, suggested there was a "Love Story" between Chelsea and their country as a legacy of the successes enjoyed by the likes of Gianfranco Zola, Gianluca Vialli and Roberto di Matteo.
It was one for the romantics, but Ancelotti - for all his self-depracating humour that even saw him dodge one loaded question with the words "I don't understand Italian" - knows this relationship will only be sustained by results.