Milan reward Pioli with two-year contract extension
AC Milan have rewarded coach Stefano Pioli for the club's return to form after the lockdown with a two-year contract extension, the Serie A side confirmed on Tuesday.
Pioli, 54, took over last October after his predecessor Marco Giampaolo was sacked after just seven games in charge.
The announcement of the new deal until June 2022 came after the team's 2-1 win over Sassuolo on Tuesday, thanks to a first-half Zlatan Ibrahimovic double.
Milan are on a nine-match unbeaten run including seven wins and are now fifth and into the Europa League places with three games left to play this season.
"I am happy and proud of the trust I have received from AC Milan," said Pioli.
"We are at the beginning of an extraordinary path. If we keep working this way, we will grow and be more and more competitive."
The fallen European giants had reportedly been in talks with former RB Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick to take over next season.
But sports director Paolo Maldini praised Pioli for guiding the team "at a very difficult time".
"Stefano brilliantly managed both the pandemic outbreak lockdown and the re-start of the current season, with a very consistent, positive impact to the whole team.
"Stefano is the right man to lead the team that we want: successful, young and hungry."
Pioli was a surprise choice for the 18-time Serie A champions as he has never won a trophy in his managerial career over two decades that includes spells at Bologna, Lazio, Inter and Fiorentina.
Milan chief executive Ivan Gazidis said the extension was based on more than just the team's improved results.
"Stefano has shown he can deliver the vision of football we have for our club - exciting, progressive and passionate," said Gazidis.
"This is not a decision based on recent victories, but one based on how Stefano has built team spirit and unity of purpose, the way he has improved the performances of the individual players and the collective team, the way he has embraced our vision and the way he has represented himself and the club's values."
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Marco Bertorello