MILAN // New AC Milan coach Leonardo said today that he wanted his team to play open, attacking football as he seeks to restore the club to the top of the Italian game. Leonardo was presented as the new Milan coach a day after Carlo Ancelotti resigned before filling the vacant post at Chelsea. The 39-year-old Brazilian has signed a two-year contact starting July 1. "I think the formation will be similar to what we have now," he said. "We have a base that is clear, a style that we have used for a number of years. I want attacking football, entertaining football.
"I think that today we are all impressed with Barcelona for what they have done in the last year. It is effective and entertaining. Three in attack isn't normal for Spain, but the supporters want a more open type of football with more goals." The Brazilian, a World Cup winner in 1994, picked out fellow countrymen Kaka and Ronaldinho as key to improving on a season in which the Rossoneri finished 10 points behind champions and city rivals Inter and exited the Uefa Cup at the last 32 stage.
One of Leonardo's first tasks will be to ward off relentless interest in star player Kaka from other clubs. On Sunday night Florentino Perez was re-elected president of Real Madrid and is a longer-time admirer of the gifted South American. "I think that Kaka, like all great players, will find a place in any great team, but it is important that we keep him here," Leonardo said. "He is a major rallying point for the team, but he has been talked about in the market for a number of years.
"Ronaldinho arrived with a lot of enthusiasm and wanted to put the problems from his last year at Barcelona behind him. He started well and was scoring goals, but then he was injured... It hasn't gone well these last few months because he hasn't played, but I think he still really wants to do well." Leonardo, who spent four years as a player with Milan, gave no indications about possible transfer targets over the summer.
"We have to decide how we are going to play and we will do that in the next few days, the style of play. But if I have to think about a particular position I would say wide players." He also said the club would be in no rush to bring in young players to help lower the average age of a team that features players over 30, such as Clarence Seedorf, Filippo Inzaghi, Giuseppe Favalli and Massimo Ambrosini on a regular basis.
"We have a lot of young players, but we aren't after only young players. We have players like Kaka who have been with us for a number of years. It is all about striking a balance."