AC Milan coach Alberto Zaccheroni was sacked on Wednesday following a string of poor results both domestically and in Europe.
The manager's future was always in question after the 1-1 draw with La Liga's Deportivo la Coruna on Tuesday which eliminated the Italians from the Champions League.
|Zaccheroni: No more smiles|
A club statement said: 'AC Milan announces that Mr Alberto Zaccheroni has been relieved as coach of the team. The club wish to express their thanks for his work and dedication over the last three years.'
AC Milan president and owner Silvio Berlusconi had been at odds with Zaccheroni for some time, but until recently had kept his criticism to himself.
On Tuesday Berlusconi gave a clear signal of Zaccheroni's impending doom when he finally spoke out against his manager and then announced he would be taking an active role at the San Siro.
'I have kept my reserve about the performances because I wanted to respect the autonomy of the technical staff and I have suffered in silence. But the results show I was right,' he said.
Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani told reporters at Milan's luxury training camp that the decision to sack Zaccheroni had been taken after he held early morning talks with the club president.
Galliani paid tribute to the work Zaccheroni had done during nearly three seasons with the club. 'We won the league in his first season, we finished third and qualified for the Champions League in his second year. This year was going well until mid-December.
'We qualified well from the first phase of the Champions League ahead of Leeds United and Barcelona. His overall balance is two and a half good years and three bad months,' Galliani said.
Zaccheroni joined Milan in 1999 from Udinese and won the Scudetto - the Serie A title - in his first season in charge. But now the five times European Cup winners are languishing in eighth place in Serie A after a run of just two wins in 18 league and cup matches.
Last season AC Milan finished third in Serie A, qualifying for the Champions League, but despite quality performances in the first stage they managed just one victory - ironically a 1-0 win away to la Coruna - in the second group phase and failed to qualify for the quarter finals.
Former Italy coach Cesare Maldini, father of team captain Paolo, and youth team coach Mauro Tassotti will takeover at the San Siro until the end of the season.
Maldini won the European Cup with Milan in 1963 and was assistant coach of the Italian national team from 1980 to 1986 before taking over the under-21s. Maldini moved up to take control of the Azzuri in 1997 but after the 1998 World Cup finals he returned to Milan's staff.
Tassotti was right-back in the Milan side that won the European Cup in 1989,1990 and 1994. After retiring as a player he worked as youth team manager at Milan and has been tipped as a future Milan coach.
Turkish manager Fatih Terim, who quit Fiorentina in February, is expected to be appointed AC Milan coach. However, the former Galatasaray boss cannot take control until next season as Italian regulations forbid a manager from coaching two teams in the same term.
Former Juventus and Inter Milan coach Marcello Lippi has also been mentioned as a possible replacement for next season.