Former Inter Milan coach Leonardo has not confirmed his arrival in Paris Saint-Germain and talks are still under way, the Brazilian told a news conference organized in Milan on Thursday.
REUTERS - Former Inter Milan coach Leonardo is not certain he will move to Paris Saint-Germain, the Brazilian told a news conference on Thursday.
Leonardo, who led the Nerazzurri to second position and the Coppa Italia after taking over as coach in December, was replaced two weeks ago by Gian Piero Gasperini in mysterious circumstances following media speculation he had met with PSG's new owners, Qatar Investment Authority, in Doha and agreed to become a director at the French club.
Appearing before the Italian press for the first time after his extended holiday, the former AC Milan player, director and coach admitted meeting PSG in Doha but said he had intended to stay as Inter boss right up until Gasperini's appointment.
"I'm a free agent," the 41-year old told reporters, arriving in Milan after a two-day meeting in London with PSG's new owners. "There's no reason for me to go to Paris at the moment.
Until three days ago I hadn't dealt with PSG and I've never spoken about money. There are still many things to consider and I don't know what will happen."
Despite losing his job as Inter coach, Leonardo described Massimo Moratti as a "father figure", claiming the embattled Inter chief had made the decision for the best interests of Leonardo as well as the club.
"Moratti treated me as a father treats a son," he said, describing how Inter's president had given his permission to meet with PSG's then prospective owners on 6 June. "I initially responded [to PSG's offer] that it was impossible but Moratti said 'it's a great thing for you' and he didn't stand in my way."
As speculation mounted in the Italian and French press over Leonardo's decision, Moratti contacted former Argentina and Chile manager Marcelo Bielsa and then Gasperini as a replacement, claiming he needed a "coach not a director".
"The news of the telephone call with Bielsa created a very delicate situation that I didn't want to comment on," an emotional Leonardo said. "Moratti told me twice that I could still remain but then told me he didn't want to put me in the eye of the storm. There was no betrayal, but I'm sad I'm no longer Inter coach because it was a great challenge.
"The Brazilian, who left AC Milan by mutual agreement last year after reported interference from owner and Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, said he did not know what the future held.
"I don't know if my occupation is coach or director but I'm not counting out coaching in the future," said Leonardo who spent a year as player at PSG.
"PSG is a possibility -- I have to understand it. I haven't made a response because there's been no offer to sign, I don't know who they are looking to buy and don't know the project."
Date created : 2011-07-08