Despite being linked to the Inter job for a while, I was still pretty surprised when Leonardo chose to throw his “allegiance” away from the AC Milan jersey and sign an 18-month contract with bitter rivals Inter Milan. Here’s what the relatively inexperienced manager had to say in his unveiling:
“I will be honest. I have always tried to stay free and to be myself. It’s not necessary to have things in common to live together,” he told the press as Inter unveiled him officially.
“I spent 13 years at Milan and I will always thank the club where I was a player, director and coach. I don’t feel guilty and I have no regrets. I always told people how I wanted to live certain things. The Inter challenge will be strong and I couldn’t have said no. 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.”
Free man? Um…wasn’t expecting that one to be said. Yes, I know you have an obligation to your employer to sound like you are a committed to the job but this quote seems like he was locked away in a dingy tower for thirteen years rather than enjoying his time.
At any rate, the former Brazilian international doesn’t have the sort of record that justifies a large club like Inter approaching him for a job offer. The 41-year-old held a 23-13-12 record in his time at Milan, not too respectable of a record considering the club he was managing. He ended his regime 12 points off the pace. Remember the embarrasing 4-0 loss to Inter? Or the 7-2 thumping the club took on aggregate against Manchester United in the Champions League? Perhaps it was just me who remembered that.
Now I do realize that former players, especially good ones, get precedence in managerial jobs post-playing career but does anyone honestly think it’s a great policy? Yes, the players do have the most experience on the pitch and know what (for the most part) the players would want and what (could) tactically work well. Hammer away at this post if you want, I’m not sure what to take of Leonardo’s hire. I just know I don’t support the decision on either end.