MILAN - New Inter Milan coach Leonardo,
the former AC Milan boss who joined the European champions last
week after Rafael Benitez's dismissal, said the job was "a
dream" after being welcomed like a rock star on Wednesday.
"I'm a romantic," Leonardo told his first news conference at
Inter's training ground having arrived to wild applause.
"I wasn't looking for work, I was looking for a dream and
this is the biggest challenge there is."
The Brazilian left Milan in May after his only season in
management following a series of disagreements with owner Silvio
He has returned to Serie A with Milan's biggest rivals
having replaced Benitez but said his acceptance of the role was
not the start of a vendetta against the Rossoneri.
"I thank Milan for 13 years together and I will never forget
them but now I start a new adventure. I am a free man."
The 41-year-old World Cup winner was a player for Milan
before becoming a scout, technical director and coach, making
his switch to their bitter rivals all the more surprising.
However, the clubs have often swapped personnel over the
years and league leaders Milan have stayed largely quiet on the
issue given their hopes of silverware this term rely on former
Inter striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Inter are bidding for a sixth straight Serie A title but lie
seventh at the mid-season break following an injury crisis and
loss of confidence under Benitez.
"I still believe in the scudetto. I know 13 points is a lot
but the championship still has a long way to run," added
Leonardo, whose first game in charge is the January 6 clash with
Napoli at the familiar San Siro.
Inter president Massimo Moratti is prepared for flak from
Inter fans if his appointment of a former Milan coach, who only
guided the Rossoneri to third last term, backfires.
"I am very happy about this appointment, I have always rated
him," Moratti said of a man who speaks five languages.
"Now let him work without pressure but with all the ambition
that we must have as champions of the world. He bears a heavy
weight on his shoulders, as I do, for the decision the club have
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