Carlo Ancelotti announced he was quitting AC Milan following their 2-0 win at Fiorentina on the last day of the season and AC Milan moved quickly in announcing his replacement. Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani announced that former player and Brazil FIFA World Cup™-winning midfielder Leonardo, the club's technical director, would be taking over the hot-seat.
A visibly emotional Ancelotti, who is widely tipped to take over at Chelsea, said: "Today my beautiful Milan adventure has come to an end." Ancelotti, who still had a year to run on his contract, confirmed what had become the worst kept secret in Italian football in announcing his departure, however he refused to confirm that Chelsea would be his destination.
"Our paths are separating. I spoke after the match to Mr Galliani and we decided to terminate the contract," said Ancelotti. "We spoke a while back but the decision was taken at the end of the season and it was mutual. London is not certain as a destination."
Ancelotti won two UEFA Champions League titles, one Serie A crown and the FIFA Club World Cup during his eight seasons at Milan, but was coming under heavy criticism the last two years for failing to meet expectations.
Of Ancelotti's replacement, Galliani said: "Leonardo is our new coach and will be presented at the San Siro tomorrow at midday."
39-year-old Leonardo played for the club from 1997-2001, winning the league title in 1999. He was part of the Brazil squad that beat Italy to win the FIFA World Cup™ in 1994, although he disgraced himself earlier in the tournament by getting sent off against hosts the United States for elbowing Tab Ramos, resulting in a four-game suspension that saw him miss the final. Leonardo has no previous coaching experience, but Barcelona's Pep Guardiola has proved novices can shine after winning an incredible treble in his season in charge of the Catalans.
Milan's 2-0 win at Fiorentina confirmed they finished second in Serie A and qualified the club automatically for the group stages of next season's UEFA Champions League.