Sunday, 31 May 2009

Leonardo to replace Ancelotti at Milan helm

Carlo Ancelotti's eight-year tenure at AC Milan has ended with the coach terminating his contract a year early by mutual consent after sealing their return to the UEFA Champions League group stage, Leonardo taking up the reins.

Carlo Ancelotti & Leonardo"In agreement with the club, we have decided to bring forward the expiry of my contract," said the 49-year-old after the Rossoneri's final match of the Serie A season, a 2-0 success at Fiorentina.

"A fantastic adventure with Milan comes to an end and I want to thank everybody. I'm glad it ended in the right way after taking the team back into the Champions League.

"We spoke about it after the game with [vice-President] Adriano Galliani and [President] Silvio Berlusconi. We decided together to make this decision without any disagreements.

"We are going separate ways but we still love and respect each other."

When pressed upon which club he will now join, the reported Chelsea and Real Madrid target added: "I cannot say anything official about my future because I have no kind of agreement with any club. However, I think you will know very soon."

Ancelotti joined Milan, the club he played for between 1987 and 1992, in 2001 after spells with Parma and Juventus. He led the Rossoneri to European glory in 2003 and 2007 and is one of six men to have lifted the trophy both as a player and a coach, having won it as a midfielder in 1989 and 1990.

As Milan coach, he also won the Serie A title in 2004 and the Coppa Italia a year previously, among other domestic and international trophies.

Milan vice-President Adriano Galliani announced that Leonardo will be installed as Ancelotti's replacement on Monday.

"It's true, Leonardo will be the next Milan coach. He will be unveiled to the press tomorrow at midday," Galliani told Rai.

"It's not over with Ancelotti. There still remains friendship, affection to the club and eight marvellous years together, with eight trophies.

"We have never contacted any other coach, we told ourselves that the alternatives would have been only two: continue with Ancelotti or Leonardo. With regards to the Brazilian, we love our own, and Leonardo has taken the same professional path of [England coach] Fabio Capello.

"I wish him the same luck, quality and success of Capello."

The 39-year-old former Milan player and Brazilian international, who has no coaching experience, has been serving as a technical director and was instrumental in the signings of fellow countrymen Ricardo Kaka and Alexandre Pato.

Source: UEFA

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