Milan sack Vincenzo Montella, appoint Gennaro Gattuso
AC Milan have sacked their manager Vincenzo Montella and replaced him with former midfielder Gennaro Gattuso, the club confirmed on Monday.
Montella was appointed Milan manager in the summer of 2016 and led the team to sixth in his first season in charge, also winning the Supercoppa Italiana.
He signed a new contract this summer and following a transfer window of heavy investment expectations were high.
However Montella failed to live up to those expectations and the club currently sit in seventh, 18 points behind league leaders Napoli.
AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella looks on before the UEFA Europa League group D match between AC Milan and Austria Wien at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 23, 2017 in Milan, Italy.Getty Images
Former Milan captain Gattuso was in charge of the club’s youth team and has now taken over the senior side.
The famously combative Gattuso, a World Cup winner in 2006, became Milan’s sixth coach since Massimiliano Allegri was fired in January, 2014.
Montella, the first coach to go since former Italian Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi sold the club to a Chinese-led consortium in a €740 million deal in April, had been in charge since the start of last season when he led them to sixth place in Serie A.
“We give heartfelt thanks to Mr Montella and his staff for their effort, serious work and professional courtesy,” Milan said in a statement.
Gattuso, 39, spent 12 seasons playing for Milan, winning two Serie A, two Champions League and one Club World Cup titles, and was known as one of Italy's toughest players.
His coaching career has been a mixed bag, although never dull.
AC Milan juvenile coach Gennaro Gattuso salute the crowd during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Cagliari Calcio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on August 27, 2017 in Milan, ItalyGetty Images
He began at Swiss first division side Sion in 2013 but was sacked after three months before joining Italian Serie B club Palermo who fired him after six games.
In 2014, he tried his luck with Greek Super League side OFI Crete who were beset by financial problems and, according to Gattuso, were "struggling to feed their players".
Milan, 18-times Italian champions, enjoyed a golden age under Berlusconi but his last few years as president became a story of unsuccessful transfers, mid-table finishes and musical chairs in the coach's seat.
Younger recruits included Portuguese striker Andre Silva, right back Andrea Conti, a product of Atalanta's impressive youth scheme, Switzerland left-back Ricardo Rodriguez and Turkish midfielder and free-kick specialist Hakan Calhanoglu.
The new-found optimism was apparent at AC Milan's first home match of the season when a 65,000-crowd turned up at San Siro on a stifling August evening for a Europa League tie against modest Romanian side Univesitatea Craiova.
Milan, seven-times European champions, won their first six competitive games but quickly lost their spark and Sunday’s match was their fourth home league game in a row without scoring.