The much-anticipated sacking of AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf became a reality on Monday but the club has quickly turned to another former player to lead the team.
Seedorf's ex-Rossoneri team-mate, Filippo Inzaghi, has taken charge of the senior side on a two-year contract. Inzaghi has been coaching the youth team for the past two seasons. The 40-year-old takes over a Milan team that won seven of their last nine matches under Seedorf but came up short of qualification for the UEFA Europa League.
Seedorf's days in charge appeared numbered because of the Dutchman's reported strained relationship with the club's hierarchy. The 38-year-old had ended his playing career earlier this year to replace Massimiliano Allegri with Milan struggling in the lower half of the Italian Serie A table. Seedorf still had two years left on his contract. The club announced his departure in a statement that also revealed Inzaghi as the new manager.
Inzaghi, a FIFA World Cup™ winner with Italy in 2006, played 11 seasons at Milan and helped the club win two Serie A and two UEFA Champions League titles. He retired as a player in 2012 and immediately joined Milan's coaching staff. His performances at the helm of the youth team impressed Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi.
When asked about Inzaghi last week as a possible replacement for Seedorf, Berlusconi said: "I see Inzaghi very determined. He is hungry for victories. He is consistent with what we want Milan to be, that is a team that goes out to win and wins convincingly. A team that wins fair and that makes the fans happy with their performances."
Inzaghi has yet to be unveiled to the media but everyone knows how he feels.
"Milan is my life and my story," Inzaghi told AC Milan's TV channel last week. "If I get some good news (regarding coaching the first team) then that's great. Otherwise, I am proud to continue coaching these boys."
It remains to be seen what personnel Inzaghi will have at his disposal next season. There is speculation that midfielder Kaka will leave, with the Brazilian tempted to move to Major League Soccer.
The Rossoneri have signed former Paris Saint-Germain defender Alex and are also expected to acquire winger Jeremy Menez from the French side on a free transfer. Inzaghi will no doubt be keeping close tabs on Mattia De Sciglio, Ignazio Abate and Mario Balotelli - the three Milan players that have made Cesare Prandelli's Italy World Cup squad.
However, Inzaghi will not have club captain Riccardo Montolivo available for the start of the season with the experienced midfielder having fractured his shin in Italy's recent international friendly against the Republic of Ireland.