Former Roma coach Paulo Fonseca is to return to Italy as the new boss of AC Milan, the Serie A runners-up announced on Thursday.

“Milan’s new coach will be Paulo Fonseca,” said former Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, representing the owner, at a press conference.

Fonseca, 51, who has signed a three-year contract, has been with French club Lille since 2022.

He succeeds Stefano Pioli, who was sacked at the end of the 2023-24 season after five seasons in charge.

“We studied very carefully what he did, how he prepared his matches,” said Ibrahimovic, who had two spells as a player with the club, ending his on-field career with Milan in 2023.

“We want him to bring his identity of game, his offensive style to our team, to our players.

“After five years we wanted something new, with all respect to Stefano Pioli.”

Born in Nampula, Mozambique, in 1973, Fonseca began his coaching career in Portugal with stints at Pacos de Ferreira, Porto and Braga before spending three years at Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk, where he won seven trophies and finished with a record of 103 wins in 139 matches.

In 2019, he took over at Roma, whom he led to fifth and seventh in Serie A, before heading to Lille, taking them to fifth and fourth in Ligue 1 and guiding them into Europe in both seasons he had in France.

Milan are coming off a trophy-less season — their 19th league title came in 2022 — where they were second best by some distance to city rivals Inter who won the title.

They were eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage, finishing third behind Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain and lost to AS Roma in the quarter-finals of the Europa League

The announcement marks Fonseca the second big managerial change in Italy in two days.

On Wednesday, Juventus named Thiago Motta as their successor to Massimiliano Allegri who was sacked last month.

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