Former AC Milan director Leonardo reveals how legendary Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti convinced him to join the Nerazzurri in 2010.

At the time, the Brazilian’s name had long been associated with AC Milan. He donned the Rossoneri jersey between 1998 and 2002.

After hanging up his boots, Leonardo worked for the club as a scout for several years, helping Milan poach talents from Brazil. The Rossoneri then promoted him to the role of technical director in 2008.

A year later, the Milan management named him as head coach following Carlo Ancelotti’s departure.

The Brazilian left his post after a solitary campaign. Afterwards, he received an unexpected call from Moratti, urging him to take the reigns at Inter.

The Nerazzurri pulled the plug on Rafael Benitez’s short reign, replacing him with Leonardo. This move caused a major stir at both ends of the city.

In a new interview, Leonardo tells how it unfolded, revealing Moratti’s substantial role in the operation.

“After six years in the office, [Ex-Milan vice-president Adriano] Galliani asked me to become the coach of the first team,” reveals the 54-year-old in his chat with Globoesporte via FcInterNews.

“But I didn’t want to. I didn’t see myself in that role. It was a difficult year for me. After three Champions League finals, with Italian world champions in midfield, that cycle was coming to an end.

“We qualified for the Champions League, which was an achievement on its own. In the end, we lost against Manchester United, but it was a super positive year and at some moments the team shone.

“In 2010, I left Milan and decided to take a career break. But I had a very good rapport with Massimo Moratti.

“So he calls me in December, during the Christmas period, probing about my availability. He had contacted me several times before and I always said ‘No, I can’t’.

“We met at 1 AM in the morning at his house. And in that conversation, there was no way out.

“I always acted on instinct. Whether it was based on reason or emotion, I can’t tell, but he managed to convince me.”

Leonardo Reveals The Backstory Of How Massimo Moratti Swayed Him Into Joining Inter Milan in 2010

Leonardo also explains the difficulties that accompanied his crosstown switch from various aspects.

“Unlike those great stars who played for both teams, my relationship with Milan was deeper. I was at the center of the club.

“It was very difficult for me. It became tougher with every passing day. The Derby in particular was an extremely heavy affair for me.

“I received many threats, but it doesn’t matter. This must count as a positive thing, because I also remember what president Moratti used to say: ‘All this fuss for just one guy, seems like a good thing to me’. Massimo is a genius.”