Gullit and Panucci back surprise choice Seedorf to succeed at Milan

Ruud Gullit and Christian Panucci both believe Milan have made the right move to announce Clarence Seedorf as Massimiliano Allegri’s replacement.

The Rossoneri brought an end to Allegri’s three-and-a-half year reign at the San Siro on Monday morning, following a 4-3 defeat at Serie A strugglers Sassuolo. This was their seventh loss of the season, and leaves them 20 points adrift of the final UEFA Champions League qualifying spot and a further 10 behind leaders Juventus.

Milan have wasted no time in appointing a successor to the 46-year-old, having decided to give their former midfield player Seedorf a two-and-a-half year contract. The ex-Holland international spent 10 years as a player at the club, during which time he helped them win two Champions League crowns and the same number of Scudetto’s.

The 37-year-old was plying his trade for Botafogo, but he has now confirmed he has left the Brazilian side and retired as a player to take up the role vacated by Allegri. This will likely be a popular move amongst the supporters, and whilst another of their former players, Gullit, believes his compatriot will be a success, he is also surprised.

“I am very surprised at the choice made by the club,” the 1987 Ballon d’Or winner told RTL 4 on Tuesday. “Clarence has no experience as a coach. In spite of this, however, I think the choice to appoint him will prove to be a good one in the near future.”

Panucci, who spent three years in the Milan back four from 1993-1996, is a little more positive about the immediate impact Seedorf could have. Currently the assistant coach of Russia, the 40-year-old former Italy international is a close friend of the new Rossoneri coach, and he believes they have made a very shrewd appointment.

“Clarence Seedorf, I think he has the credentials and personality to achieve great things,” Panucci told Sky Sport Italia. “Milan at this time cannot point to great things, but he can do well at the club and turn things around. It is the right decision to have composure and to opt for somebody you know when appointing someone to take charge.”

Seedorf is expected to arrive in Milan on Wednesday, when he will attend the San Siro for the Coppa Italia quarter-final clash against Serie B side Spezia. He will likely take charge for the first time on Sunday evening when Hellas Verona, who are currently riding high in sixth position in the Serie A standings, are the visitors.

He will also relish the prospect of competing in the Champions League, a competition he not only won twice with Milan, but also with Ajax in 1995 and Real Madrid three years later. Atletico Madrid, who are looking formidable in Spain this season, provide the opposition in the last 16 of this season’s tournament.


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