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Leonardo hired as new coach of Inter Milan

Former AC Milan manager Leonardo has been hired as the new coach of city rival Inter Milan.

The European and Italian champion announced Leonardo's appointment on its website Friday, a day after Rafa Benitez's contract was terminated by mutual agreement.

Leonardo's contract begins Wednesday and runs until June 2012.

Benitez led Inter to the Club World Cup title last weekend, but the team is in seventh place in Serie A, 13 points behind leader Milan. The Spanish coach lasted only six months after taking over from Jose Mourinho, who left for Real Madrid following last season.

Leonardo's only head coaching experience came last season when he led Milan, but the run ended abruptly when the Brazilian clashed with club owner and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi.