Stefano Pioli has signed a new two-year contract at AC Milan, bringing to an end speculation linking Ralf Rangnick with the managerial role.
The 54-year-old had looked certain to depart San Siro earlier in the year, with inconsistent form dogging I Rossoneri for much of the 2019/20 Serie A campaign.
But since Italian football resumed after a three-month break enforced by the global coronavirus pandemic, Pioli’s Milan have fired themselves back into a Europa League qualification spot – picking up 23 points from a possible 27, with their run including seven wins and two draws.
As a result, alleged plans to hire Rangnick as Pioli’s replacement have been shelved – with a statement on Milan’s official website confirming he’s put pen-to-paper on a contract running until 2022.
“I am happy and proud of the trust I have received from Milan. I want to thank everyone, including our fans, who we miss very much at the stadium, but with whom we are always close and supportive. As I said many times, the our future is today,” Pioli said.
“We have to stay focused and determined, to be united, to be a real team. We are at the beginning of an extraordinary path. If we continue to work in this way, we will grow further and be more and more competitive.”
Milan’s CEO, Ivan Gazidis – formerly of Arsenal – added: “Stefano has shown that he is able to offer that vision of football that we think and want for our club, an exciting, modern and passionate football.
“This is not a decision based on recent victories, but on the way Stefano has built team spirit and unity of purpose, the way he has improved the performance of individual players and the collective, the way he has made his our vision, and how it transfers its personality and the values of our club”.
The final word went to Milan legend – and current sporting director – Paolo Maldini, who backed Pioli to lead Milan forward into a successful future.
“Stefano became our coach in a very difficult moment. We have always claimed that it would take some time to see the results of his work and we had the confirmation that the quality and professionalism always pay. Stefano is the right man to lead the team we want: a successful team, young and hungry for victories”.
Milan have three games left to play this season, coming up against title-chasing Atalanta, Sampdoria and Cagliari.