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AC Milan deny Leonardo exit

AC Milan have strenuously denied that Brazilian coach Leonardo has left the club after reports in the Italian media claimed he had walked out on the Rossoneri.

Italian journalist Carlo Pellegatti recently claimed that Leonardo had decided to leave Milan in the summer, suggesting that Marcello Lippi had been lined up to replace him, with Filippo Galli as technical director.

And when Milan vice president Adriano Galliani told La Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday that he had his work cut out convincing Leonardo to stay, reports began to emerge that the Brazilian had already walked out of the San Siro exit door.

"Look, Leo didn't have the intention of coaching Milan," Galliani said. "I convinced him last year. And I will convince him to stay this year as well, beyond his two-year contract. I am saying that I will manage it.

"Berlusconi wants him too and it's necessary that I am believed when I make certain statements, otherwise I don't see why we must go forward with the interview.

"You don't know how many times Leo and Berlusconi talk and see each other. And how they discuss! Milan is a family. And Berlusconi and Leo enjoy themselves."

But Milan have now responded with a statement strenuously denying that their coach, who is contracted until 2011, has left the club.

"In reference to the reports divulged today relative to a presumed contract rescission, Leonardo would like to clarify that these are totally deprived of any foundation."

Leonardo has been heavily inked with the Brazil job, with current coach Dunga likely to step down after the World Cup finals, and the Milan coach has thus far refused to comment on the possibility of taking charge of the Selecao.

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