Inter Milan news

Leonardo tight-lipped over Inter

December 23, 2010

Leonardo has refused to be drawn on speculation he is set to replace Rafael Benitez as Inter Milan boss following the Spaniard's departure.

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Inter confirmed Benitez's exit after just six months in charge at the San Siro and former AC Milan boss Leonardo has been widely tipped as the man to replace Benitez, despite his long association with the Nerazzurri's city rivals.

Inter president Massimo Moratti has denied he has made contact with any possible replacement, while Leonardo has claimed he had not spoken to anyone about the job.

''I know less than you,'' he told Sky Sport 24. ''The only thing that I can say now is merry Christmas to you.''

Benitez's departure had been expected following five days of speculation after he appeared to issue an ultimatum to Moratti to sack him or back him in the transfer market.

Benitez made the comments following a poor start to the season that finds Inter 13 points adrift of leaders Milan in seventh place.

Moratti admitted, in confirming Benitez's sacking, that he had been angered by the comments, but was tight-lipped about a potential replacement, telling ANSA: ''All the names that circulate about the next Inter coach are interesting.''

Asked if it would be Leonardo, he told reporters: ''We'll see, I will tell you when we decide. All the people we have in mind are experienced, brave and intelligent. However, when the time comes we'll tell.''

Brazilian Leonardo, 41, had two spells at Milan as a player and also served as technical director before taking over the coaching reins last season. He lasted just one season, however, after he was sacked after guiding the Rossoneri to third place in Serie A.

Milan vice president Adriano Galliani admitted it would be strange to see a player he helped bring to the club from Paris St Germain in 1997 on the bench of their rivals.

''I do not know what my reaction would be,'' he said. ''He certainly has an important history with Milan. He made a career with AC Milan; first as a player, then as a coach and a manager.

''Last year this went wrong, but without all of the injuries they could have been better. I was sorry to see him go.''