Gattuso announces AC Milan exit

AC Milan great Gennaro Gattuso is to leave the club following the team's failure to qualify for the Champions League.

Gennaro Gattuso has exited AC Milan   -  Getty Images

Gennaro Gattuso has announced he is to leave his position as head coach of AC Milan.

Milan great Gattuso, 41, is to step down at San Siro after narrowly missing out on Champions League qualification this season.

The Rossoneri beat SPAL 3-2 on the final day of 2018-19 but it was not enough as Milan fell just a point short of a top-four spot.

In an interview with Italian publication La Repubblica, Gattuso confirmed he is departing on good terms with Milan, despite the disappointing end to the campaign.

"My decision to leave AC Milan's bench has not been easy, but I had to make it," Gattuso said, with the club expected to confirm the news later on Tuesday.

"It's been a hard choice but one I put thought into. I have given up two years left on my contract because my history with this club will never be about money."

Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi and Sampdoria boss Marco Giampaolo are two of the favourites to take over.

Gattuso – a two-time Serie A and Champions League winner with Milan as a player – replaced Vincenzo Montella in November 2017.

The former Italy midfielder's promotion from Milan's Primavera side sparked a resurgence, but the club still finished sixth in 2017-18, though it finished runner-up at Coppa Italia.

Gattuso's first full season came after a change in ownership and the return of director Leonardo, who was forced to dismiss reports he was looking to appoint Antonio Conte.

Amid the external noise, Gattuso oversaw a 10-match unbeaten streak in Serie A as Milan threatened to leapfrog rival Inter into third position and the automatic Champions League spots.

However, March's 3-2 derby defeat derailed Milan – which only won five of its remaining 11 games to finish fifth behind Inter and third-place Atalanta.

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