Leonardo hints at Milan exit

MILAN - AC Milan coach Leonardo has fuelled speculation he will leave at the end of the season after finally losing his cool and conceding he does not see eye-to-eye with owner Silvio Berlusconi.

Media reports said the Italian prime minister had been overheard by senators discussing Milan's poor tactics, average season and possible new managers, with assistant coach Filippo Galli seen as favourite by bookmakers.

"I don't know what Berlusconi said but I can't deny that our relationship is difficult. We are very different, maybe we are incompatible but the important thing is these next three games," Leonardo told a news conference on Friday.

The Brazilian World Cup winner evoked memories of his playing days by dodging and weaving questions over his future.

He refused to say he was definitely leaving, maintaining that the three remaining games in Serie A which could secure third spot were his only priorities, but criticising Berlusconi may only lead to one outcome.

Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani had previously said there was a chance Leonardo would choose to return to South America to be with his children after just one season in charge.


Galliani then laughed off the reports about Berlusconi's comments but Leonardo, increasingly tetchy in front of the media in recent months, was clearly not amused.

"It's an incompatibility in terms of style," added Leonardo, querying why Berlusconi had not publically denied the reported comments and refuting speculation he will succeed Brazil boss Dunga after the World Cup.

"I can say that I have never talked with anyone at Flamengo or the Brazilian national team, or the organisers of the 2014 World Cup (in Brazil)," said the coach, whose length of contract at Milan has been shrouded in secrecy.

"I don't have any real offers from anyone and I'm not even thinking about it."

The cultured 40-year-old, who speaks five languages fluently, succeeded Carlo Ancelotti last May when the Italian left for Chelsea despite not having any managerial experience.

Most Rossoneri fans were underwhelmed by the appointment of the former technical director, seeing the move as a cheap way of finding a new coach amid general belt-tightening from Berlusconi which included the sale of Kaka and limited new buys.

Milan have not won the scudetto since 2004 and lie a distant third in Serie A, just four points above in-form Sampdoria who threaten to steal the third automatic Champions League spot.

Milan's campaign started badly and a pickup in form mid-season, highlighted by a win at Real Madrid, soon dropped off as they bowed out of Europe and injuries to the likes of Alexandre Pato and David Beckham hit their progress.

They host Fiorentina at the San Siro on Saturday.

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