Rangnick steps down as Leipzig sporting director to take up global Red Bull role

RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick will step down from his current role to oversee the development of Red Bull-owned clubs in New York and Brazil, Leipzig announced on Tuesday.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Rangnick confirmed that he would be taking on the role of "Head of Sport and Development Soccer" at Red Bull.

The role will see him focus on the development of MLS club New York Red Bulls and the company's Brazilian club, who recently merged with second tier outfit Bragantino.

"In the shower during the winter break, I began to think about what I would do after this season. I wanted a new challenge for myself, and I wanted what was best for RB Leipzig and for the other Red Bull clubs," said Rangnick.

The 60-year-old will be replaced at Leipzig by Paderborn sporting director Markus Kroesche, the club confirmed on Tuesday.

Rangnick has been sporting director at Leipzig since 2012, helping to guide the club from the fourth tier into the Champions League.

He has also had two spells as Leipzig coach, overseeing the club's promotion to the Bundesliga in 2016 and their run to the German Cup final this year.

Though he was always set to make way for Julian Nagelsmann in the Leipzig dugout ahead of next season, Rangnick had repeatedly denied rumours that he would also step down as sporting director.

Rangnick will continue to live in Leipzig, and said he would "happily give advice" to both Kroesche and Nagelsmann in future.

Rangnick has always been a key figure in Red Bull's football empire, having also served as Red Bull Salzburg sporting director between 2012 and 2015.

Even since giving up the role, he has faced accusations of conflict of interest, with 23 players having moved from Salzburg to Leipzig since 2012.

On Tuesday, he said that he would have nothing to do with Salzburg in his new role, but that they and Leipzig would be a model for his work in New York and Brazil.

"I want to do exactly what I did in Leipzig and Salzburg in 2012: assess the situation and see what we can do in terms of scouting, squad planning and coach development."

Rangnick said he hoped to take Bragantino into the Brazilian first division as quickly as possible, and open new youth academies in both countries.