Leonardo kicks off coaching career at AC Milan

June 2nd, 2009 - 2:52 pm ICT by IANS  

AC Milan Rome, June 2 (DPA) Brazilian Leonardo has signed a two-year contract with AC Milan as he begins a coaching career after stints as player and technical manager with the Devils, the club’s web site reported.
Leonardo Nascimento de Araujo, 39, said that former coach Carlo Ancelotti, 49, was the person who persuaded him to take the job.

Ancelotti resigned Sunday after closing his eighth season with Milan and Monday signed a three-year contract with English giants Chelsea.

“A lot of affection ties me to Milan, otherwise I would not have accepted,” Leonardo said. “It’s an important adventure. It’s a special and important day.

“I may have dreamt to be a player, not of being a coach. But some circumstances have made me take this decision, which makes me happy. I’ve been here for 12 years. I think that taking over from Carlo is a moving thing for the relationship we had.

“Yesterday it was an extraordinary day. The players were in tears because they were losing a friend. Being here with a Champions League (berth) secured, with a happy Carlo and me beginning makes me truly happy.

“Now it’s time to build. The bases are humility and the will to do.”

Leonardo joined Milan from Paris Saint Germain and played four seasons with the Devils, winning the Serie A title in 1999.

He then played with Brazilian clubs Sao Paulo and Flamengo and rejoined Milan in 2003, but played a single game before joining the club’s technical staff.

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