Friday, 14 May 2010

Leonardo makes way at Milan

Leonardo has announced he will step down as coach of AC Milan following his side's final match of the season against Juventus on Saturday evening.

LeonardoDuring a joint press conference at Milanello with vice-President Adriano Galliani the former Milan and Brazil midfielder said: "We are here together to announce with calm and serenity that we will go our separate ways.

"Our relationship is as good as it has always been for many years. We have just come to the end of the road.

"For me it was very important to ensure the team qualified for the UEFA Champions League and I'm happy I managed to do that. We waited to announce my departure until this objective had been achieved and this morning in Via Turati we decided to officialise the choice decision."

Milan are third in Serie A and have qualified automatically for next season's Champions League group stage as they cannot be caught regardless of the result against Juventus.

The 40-year-old replaced Carlo Ancelotti last summer but were knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Udinese earlier this year and suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League.

A FIFA World Cup winner with Brazil in 1994, Leonardo won one Scudetto and one Coppa Italia with Milan. After retiring as a player he continued to work for the club and played an influential role in bringing compatriots Ricardo Kaka, Alexandre Pato and Thiago Silva to the San Siro.

Just last week, former Milan legend Marco van Basten ruled himself out of contention to guide the Rossoneri next season.

Former Cagliari coach Massimiliano Allegri and Leonardo's assistant coach Mauro Tassotti have both been linked with the job as is Filippo Galli, who oversees the youth department at Milan.

For a second successive summer, Milan will be looking for a new coach, much to the disappointment of Galliani.

"I am evidently very saddened," Galliani, sitting alongside Leonardo at the press conference, said. "I must say that I had to work hard last year to convince Leonardo to become the coach.

"Now we arrive to this decision and naturally, it has been a joint one. It's not that one is leaving the other, this was done through mutual consent.

"Up until today Milan have not contacted any coach - there is time. It was already agreed that Tassotti would take charge of the team on tour set for 12 July.

"There is no urgency. We have not made any kind of decision on the future."

Source: UEFA

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