MILAN - AC Milan named unheralded
Massimiliano Allegri as coach on Friday, propelling the former
Cagliari boss to the hot seat of one of Europe's top clubs just
two years after he was working in the third tier.
Largely unknown outside Italy, Allegri cultivated an
attractive brand of attacking football when leading
unfashionable Sassuolo to promotion to Serie B in 2008.
He was then plucked from obscurity by top-flight side
Cagliari where he continued his good work for two seasons.
"Today is the first day. Now I will have time to think and a
month available to prepare for the new season," Allegri told
Milan's television channel after signing a two-year deal.
"Coaching Milan represents a very important point of arrival
in my career. I'm part of one of the strongest clubs in the
The 42-year-old replaces Leonardo, who took over from
Chelsea-bound Carlo Ancelotti in mid-2009 but left by mutual
consent last month. The Brazilian guided Milan to third in Serie
A despite clashes with owner Silvio Berlusconi over tactics.
The appointment of rookie Leonardo was seen by Milan fans as
a cheap option as he was already on the payroll as technical
The arrival of Allegri rather than a big-name coach may be
viewed by the same supporters as further proof Berlusconi has
tightened spending during the economic crisis but also wants to
strengthen his grip on team affairs.
Assistant coach Mauro Tassotti and youth team boss Filippo
Galli were also in the running for the role, with Milan deciding
low-profile names with clear coaching credentials fitted their
new model better.
Allegri proved his ability by winning Italy's "Golden Bench"
award in February after his peers voted him Serie A boss of the
year for his attacking play and good use of modest players and
Cagliari sprang a big surprise in April by sacking him, in
the midst of their second steady season in mid-table. Media
reports said the side were annoyed with their promising young
coach for courting other clubs while form suffered.
Allegri's move to Milan took several weeks to be finalised
because he was still contracted to Cagliari despite being
sacked. Club president Massimo Cellino was reluctant to let him
go given his anger at the coach's last few months in charge.
"The negotiations extended for a month but luckily
everything ended well," Allegri added.
"I replace Leonardo, a coach who has done a good job. Under
his leadership Milan fought until the end for the scudetto and
the team played very well. Therefore I receive a very important
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