Leonardo to return to AC Milan as sporting director

AC Milan announced the appointment of former Brazilian World Cup winner Leonardo as the club's sporting director on Wednesday.

The 48-year-old had two spells as a player at the San Siro, before an ill-fated stint as Milan head coach during the 2009-2010 season.

"Leonardo's story at AC Milan is unique, having contributed to some of the club's great successes as player, coach, and director," the club said in a statement.

"He will bring back to the team his experience in building up one of the biggest clubs internationally."

The return of Leonardo comes on the heels of a takeover of the Serie A giants by US hedge fund Elliott, after the club's former Chinese owners failed to repay debt.

Elliott Management has pledged to inject 50 million euros ($59 million) to bring financial stability to the seven-time European champions.

"Leonardo's appointment is another sign of Elliott's commitment to bring in world-class and experienced leaders, who know what it takes to restore AC Milan to greatness," said Milan chairman Paolo Scaroni.

Scaroni added that Leonardo "will be in charge of managing the club's sporting area, including the transfer market", casting doubt over current coach Gennaro Gattuso's future role in player recruitment.

On Friday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned a European ban imposed on AC Milan for violating UEFA's financial fair play rules, calling the punishment "not proportionate".

"He will have all the financial support he needs to strengthen and rationalise the team within UEFA's Financial Fair Play framework," added Scaroni of Leonardo, who was also sporting director at Paris Saint-Germain from 2011-2013.

AC Milan said further announcements regarding the composition of the club's management team "will be made in due course".

Despite significant investment 12 months ago with the signings of Italy centre-back Leonardo Bonucci and Argentina's Lucas Biglia, last season Milan failed in their bid to return to the Champions League for the first time since 2014.

Gattuso took over midway through the campaign, but could only manage a sixth-placed finish and a run to the Italian Cup final.

As a player, Leonardo was part of the Brazilian side which won the 1994 World Cup in the United States and made 55 international appearances in total.

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