Leonardo nearing Inter exit

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti believes reluctant coach Leonardo could be set to leave the San Siro.Leonardo, 41, took over from the sacked Rafael Benitez at Inter in December 2010, guiding the club to second place in Serie A.

But the Brazilian, who also spent the 2009/10 season in charge of AC Milan, is not believed to harbour ambitions of a long-term career as a head coach.

He has been strongly linked with the vacant director of football position at Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain, where he spent a successful season as a player in 1996/97.

“Leonardo has a great opportunity,” Moratti told the Inter website. “We’ll try to find a solution which suits him and the club.”

After an unhappy spell at AC Milan, where Leonardo clashed with club owner Silvio Berlusconi, Moratti reportedly had to work hard to convince the former Brazil international to replace Benitez mid-way through last season.

And despite winning the Coppa Italia last month, Leonardo’s tenure at the club has not been a complete success.

He came in for criticism when the team surrendered their Champions League crown in the quarter-finals with a 7-3 aggregate defeat to unfancied Schalke.

Inter also effectively conceded the league title with a 3-0 derby loss to eventual Scudetto winners AC Milan.

Moratti believes Leonardo’s long-term future lies away from the dugout, but did not entirely rule out the possibility of his coach remaining in charge next season.

“He worked as a coach with good will and passion, but being a coach was certainly not what he aspired to be in the future,” Moratti said.

“It makes sense that he follows his ambitions and that we look for a new coach. Then should Leonardo change his mind then we could change ours too.”

Former Argentina and Chile head coach Marcelo Bielsa has been touted as a replacement if Leonardo does leave the San Siro.

After initially denying reports that Inter had spoken with the 55-year-old, Moratti confirmed that preliminary contact had been made by the club.

“I do believe that there has been a first contact with Bielsa, even if that wasn’t made by me,” Moratti said.

 


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