Wednesday December 29 2010
Leonardo: 'I couldn't say no to Inter'

Leonardo has held his first Press conference as Nerazzurri Coach. “I'll never forget Milan, but I couldn't say no to Inter.”

The tactician was appointed on Christmas Eve after Rafa Benitez's departure by mutual consent, but only begins training this afternoon.

“I have already spoken to all the players, because we don't have time to lose and play our first game on January 6. The squad and the club welcomed me positively and I thank them for that,” said the man who was on the Rossoneri bench last season.

“I have always tried to be free and to be myself. I will never forget Milan, as I have never been as tied to a club as that. I worked for them as player, director and then Coach. I have been in Milan for 13 years and this is a very emotional day.

“It's a fascinating situation. I wasn't looking for a job as such, but for a challenge. You can't get bigger than this! I couldn't say no to Inter. Some consider me a traitor? I respect all opinions.

“My rapport with Massimo Moratti was of friendship and great respect, then there will be the more professional connection between Coach and President.

“We joked about me coming to Inter 10 years ago, but nothing ever came of it. This idea grew over time and I never thought I'd really arrive at Inter. The fact I am now a professional Coach has made it possible.”

Now Leo finds himself facing off against his old club for the derby and the Scudetto.

“Milan are top of the table and the side that has the best chance of winning, but we must focus only on ourselves. The Club World Cup victory gave a real boost to the side and I certainly believe we can win the Scudetto.”

When asked why Benitez had failed to deliver with a side that had won the Treble in May, Leo tried to be diplomatic.

“It can happen that even a winning Coach like Benitez can run into difficulty in certain moments. I arrive at Inter in the most important year of their history. The team is already built, so there's nothing for me to invent. The players know what to do, I just have to put them in the right conditions to give their best.”

Andrea Ranocchia is set to join from Genoa this week, while there are reports Kaka will also join Leonardo's Nerazzurri.

“I don't think he'd leave Real without first doing well in Madrid. He has almost fully recovered from the knee surgery and cannot wait to play in what will be a very important year for him.”

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