Moratti: “Leonardo is the perfect successor to Mourinho”

Inter President Massimo Moratti feels that Brazilian Leonardo is the perfect coach to take over Mourinho’s legacy after a turbulent six months for the club under Rafa Benitez.
In a lengthy interview with Gazzetta Dello Sport the Nerazzurri supremo revealed that he wanted to sign Leonardo in June to succeed Mourinho, but it hadn’t be possible at that time.
“I do believe that Leonardo is the natural successor to Mourinho, he has strong shoulders to live up to the pressures of such a role. I had thought of Leonardo in June, but at that time he was intent on taking a break.”
Leonardo who spent the last season on Milan’s bench has a 13 year long association with the Rossoneri but Moratti wants to assure everyone that his decision to hire the Brazilian was not born out of spite.
“He agreed to join our project quickly, despite some of the doubts he had. Though he never felt like a traitor, not now nor ever. He wanted to make a switch at some point but for all Milan fans I have to say that he looks upon his past in positive way.”
In his first press conference for Inter, Leonardo expressively thanked Mourinho for the side he was inheriting and the achievements of the past year, something Moratti appreciated.
“I was very impressed and amused as he talked about Mourinho. Being able to look that way at the past does not mean you suffer if, but rather delete the weight. And, so, be free to watch on ahead.
“I feel that Mourinho’s past always weighed on Benitez a bit. It was one our intentions to not to collide with the past, because here, we see the little past as a lesson of ‘how to fight’.”

There have been suggestions that the Portuguese Coach will eventually like to come back to the Nerazzurri. And Moratti was asked whether it was possible that Mou and Leonardo will work together in the future.
“I think Mourinho has in mind a hypothesis to return to Inter – as he had for Chelsea – mostly emotional. It is not unusual at his age to want to grow constantly. Although a return may be growth, but I do not think about it at this time and neither is he.”
Leonardo’s arrival at the club came immediately after Inter captured the Club World Cup under Benitez but the Spaniard’s demands for new players caused friction within the club ranks.
Benitez’s reign had not been particularly impressive but Moratti claims that he did all he could to ensure the Coach felt the team was behind him even during the difficult times.
“I never considered asking the players, because I did not want to put Benitez in a lurch. Indeed, the last day before the World Cup, I always made sure he felt the team was with the Coach and I have never tried to push him out.”
Inter will take on Napoli in their first fixture of the New Year on January 6th at the San Siro hoping to claw back the 13 point deficit they have to city rivals and leaders Milan.

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