Leonardo Leaves Milan By Mutual Consent

Milan coach Leonardo will leave his position as manager of the Rossoneri, it was announced on Friday.  The long-rumored move will end the Brazilian's reign at the San Siro after one year amidst speculation that relations between him and club owner Silvio Berlusconi have been strained.

The club announced the move on its web site with a thank you letter to their coach, saying that the move came by mutual consent.

Leonardo, who won the World Cup as a player in 1994, has said that he wishes to move back to Brazil.  He has been linked with the managerial position at Rio de Janeiro club Flamengo.  He has also been mentioned as a possible successor for former teammate Dunga as the coach of the Brazilian national team.

Over the final months of the season, Leonardo's relationship with Silvio Berlusconi has been the subject of media speculation around Italy.  Berlusconi, who is also the Prime Minister of Italy, has been critical of the manager's tactics.  Leonardo had admitted to tensions between the two, publicly questioning whether he could work with Berlusconi, while the owner had previously made statements confirming Leonardo would leave the team at the end of the season.

The former Milan player took over the team's manager position last summer, replacing the departed Carlo Ancelotti.  After a slow start to the Serie A campaign, Leonardo temporarily had the Rossoneri competing with Internazionale at the top of the Italian league.  Two losses to Inter (by a 0-6 aggregate) derailed that campaign, with an aging Milan squad eventually fading to third place.

The team faces Juventus on Saturday in what will be Leonardo's final game.  He goes into it having won 19 of his 37 league matches, drawing eight.  He led his team to the Round of 16 in Champions League and the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia.

Milan is expect to promote Leonardo assistant Mauro Tassotti or youth coach Filippo Galli to the manager's position, with former Cagliari manager Massimiliano Allegri also linked with the job at the San Siro.

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