The 41-year-old joins the reigning Italian champions with the club languishing seventh in the Italian league table, 13 points behind leaders AC Milan, but having played two games less than the table-toppers.
“Do I believe in a title chance? Of course, I totally believe in it,” said Leonardo. “There is quite a gap to the top, but it wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take much to get into the group of frontrunners.
“I arrive here in the most important year in InterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s history. I am very determined, happy, and I have a lot of enthusiasm.”
The former AC Milan manager takes over from BenÃƒÂtez after the Spaniard was sacked last week following a troubled six months in charge at San Siro, and Leonardo believes he has what it takes to turn last season’s treble winners into champions again.
“I think the team is already there and does not need to be created,” he said. “Inter has its identity, the players know what they have to do; I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to invent anything, but rather put the players into the best possible conditions in which to do their best.
“This team must enjoy this moment after all they have achieved, like a great team; all they have to do is return to what they were doing in their successful times.”
The new coach added that he regards his new role as one of the most prestigious jobs in football. He said: “I was not looking for a job, but for something that would really motivate me, a great challenge; and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think they come any greater than this one.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Inter president Massimo Moratti admitted to being a long-term admirer of the Brazilian World Cup winner. He said: “I am very happy about this appointment, I have always rated him.
“Now let him work without pressure but with all the ambition that we must have as champions of the world. He bears a heavy weight on his shoulders, as I do, for the decision the club have taken.”
Leonardo’s first challenge as Inter boss will come in the form of a home tie against Napoli after Serie A’s winter break on 6 January.
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