Clarence Seedorf to take over as AC Milan manager

The former Netherlands and Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf will become the Serie A club's new coach after announcing an end to his illustrious playing career on Tuesday.

The 37-year-old Dutchman, who left Milan for Botafogo in 2012, told a news conference that he was retiring as a player. "This isn't a goodbye, we'll meet again," he said at Botafogo's stadium in Rio. "All the experience I have gained in this year and a half at Botafogo is going to help me in my next venture, which will be as coach of Milan."

Seedorf's agent, Deborah Martin, said he had signed a two-and-a-half year contract to replace Massimiliano Allegri, who was fired by Milan on Monday following a dismal run of results for the seven-times European champions. Seedorf said he had not been considering retirement but that the offer to return to Milan was too good to turn down.
"The decision [to sack Allegri] was decisive," Seedorf told reporters. "The call came in the middle of a training session. Obviously, it's a place where I spent 10 years of my life and I have a very close relationship with the president so when he asked me I couldn't say no."
The move to appoint Seedorf, who had a successful 10-year playing career at Milan, is something of a gamble although he is a hugely popular figure at the club and would arrive with a deep bank of goodwill.

The midfielder was the first player to win the Champions League with three different clubs – Ajax in 1995, Real Madrid in 1998 and Milan in 2003 and 2007. He has also represented Internazionale and Sampdoria.

The former Dutch international won two league titles and an Italian Cup to go with the two Champions League victories during his time at Milan, during which he was also awarded the Uefa Best Midfielder Award in 2007.

Milan are currently 11th in Serie A after squandering a two goal lead in a 4-3 defeat at promoted Sassuolo on Sunday night. That left them 30 points behind the leaders, Juventus, and 20 points off the final Champions League berth, currently occupied by Napoli.

Seedorf joined Botafogo in 2012 on a two-year contract the club said was the best ever given to a foreign player. His drive and often-admired professionalism helped turn the club's fortunes around and 2013 was their most successful season in years.

Botafogo won the Rio state championship in May and finished fourth in the Serie A, a placing that took them into the Copa Libertadores, South America's version of the Champions League, for the first time since 1996.