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Soccer-Milan set for Seedorf coaching gamble

Reuters

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Jan 14 (Reuters) - Clarence Seedorf has called a 1500 GMT news conference in Rio De Janeiro on Tuesday where it is widely expected he will confirm his new role as coach of Serie A side AC Milan.

The move to appoint the 37-year-old Dutchman, who had a successful 10-year playing career at Milan but who has no coaching experience, would be something of a gamble for the club, who sacked Massimiliano Allegri on Monday.

However, Seedorf, currently playing for Botafogo in Brazil, is a hugely popular figure at Milan 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 Amsterdam in 1995, Real Madrid in 1998 and AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. He has also represented Inter Milan 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, which also saw him 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. That left them 30 points behind leaders Juventus and 20 points off the final Champions League berth occupied by Napoli.

After only five wins in 19 league games this season, Allegri was fired on Monday morning.

There has been sympathy for Allegri, who won the Serie A title in his first season at the club in 2010/11 but has since had to deal with the loss of Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andrea Pirlo, Allesandro Nesta, Gennaro Gatusso and even Seedorf himself during a tough transitional period at the club.

Allegri guided Milan into the Champions League with a late Philippe Mexes goal on the last day of last season but they face a tough prospect in the round of 16 against high-flying Atletico Madrid.

(Reporting by Mark Young, editing by Mitch Phillips)

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