Stefano Pioli has signed a new two-year deal at AC Milan, ending speculation linking Ralf Rangnick with a managerial role.
The 54-year-old looked certain to depart the San Siro at the start of the year, with inconsistent form for the I Rossoneri throughout most of the 2019/20 Serie A campaign.
But as Italian football resumes after a three-month hiatus imposed by the global coronavirus pandemic, Pioli’s Milan have clawed their way back into the Europa League qualification spots – picking up 23 points from a possible 27. , their run includes seven wins and two draws.
Pioli’s Milan beat Sassuolo 2-1 to extend their unbeaten run after the lockdown to nine games. / Alessandro Sabatini / Getty Images
As a result, reported plans to hire Rangnick as Pioli’s replacement have been shelved – with a statement on Milan’s official website confirming that he has signed a contract that runs until 2022. But the pen and paper are kept.
“I am happy and proud of the trust given to me by Milan. I want to thank everyone, including our fans, who we miss a lot in the stadium, but with whom we are always close and supportive. As I’ve said many times, our future is today,” Pioli said.
“We have to stay focused and committed, to be united, to be a real team. We are at the beginning of an extraordinary path. If we keep working like this, we will grow further and be more competitive.”
Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis – formerly of Arsenal – added: “Stefano has shown that he is able to deliver the vision of football that we think and want for our club, an exciting, innovative and Passionate football.
“This is not a decision based on recent victories, but the way Stefano has built the team’s spirit and unity of purpose, the way he has improved individual and collective performance, the way he has built his vision. is, and that it conveys his personality and the values of our club.”
Both Paolo Maldini and Ivan Gazidis praised Pioli’s work ethic in the Milan statement. / Sylvia Lore/Getty Images
The final word went to Milan legend – and current sporting director – Paolo Maldini, who backed Pioli to lead Milan to a successful future.
“Stefano became our coach at a very difficult moment. We have always claimed that it will take some time to see the results of his work and we were convinced that quality and professionalism always pay off. The Stefano Team are the right men to lead. We want: a successful team, young and hungry for victories”.
Milan have three games left to play this season, against title-chasers Atalanta, Sampdoria and Cagliari.