Mon 18 October 2021 | 17:30

Top facts about Leonardo Araujo, Former Brazilian footballer

Leonardo Araújo is a former football player who played for Brazil national team. His most famous and successful period was with A.C. Milan. Read on to find out more facts about Leonardo Araujo, the Brazilian sports director.

Leonardo Nascimento de Araujo, often recognized as Leonardo, is a Brazilian soccer coach, administrator, and retired player who was born on September 5, 1969.

Araujo is the sports coordinator of

Paris Saint-Germain

at the moment.

Leonardo Araujo’s age

is 51. Here you can find out the most important facts about Leonardo Araujo, the former player and manager.

Leonardo Araujo was a versatile player who played offensive midfielder, left winger, and left defender throughout his career; his best-known and most successful time was with A.C. Milan, where he played offensive midfielder (or trequartista) behind the strikers.

He won championships with Flamengo, S. Paulo, Kashima Antlers, and Milan while playing for clubs in Brazil, Spain, Japan, France, and Italy.

Leonardo, a retired Brazil international, was a member of the World Cup-winning squad in 1994 and the World Cup-runner-up team in 1998. He has played for his country in two Copa América competitions, entering the final in 1995 and winning the championship in 1997, the same year he also won the FIFA Confederations Cup.

After his resignation, Araujo worked as a coach for the Italian clubs Milan and Internazionale, where he claimed the Coppa Italia in 2011. In 2017, he was the head coach of Antalyaspor. Later, he worked as the director of football for Paris Saint-Germain in France.

Top facts about Leonardo Araujo:

A notable fact about Leonardo Araujo is that he made his international premiere in 1990. He was selected as a left back for the 1994 World Cup, relegating a young

Roberto Carlos

from the team.

Leonardo Araujo early life

Leonardo Araujo was born and reared in the Brazilian city of Niterói.

Leonardo Araujo’s parents

are Aurélia Nascimento de Araújo and Francisco Ney Vianna de Araújo.

Speaking about

Leonardo Araujo’s childhood

, it should be mentioned that unfortunately there is not much information about his early years.

Leonardo Araujo personal life

He is married to a Sky Italia broadcaster, Anna Billó, with whom he has a son, after divorcing his first wife with whom he had 3 children (one boy and two daughters).

In 1998, Leonardo created the association Gol de Letra. The aim is to help disadvantaged Brazilian children and adolescents. It provides educational, cultural and sports assistance.

Since 2002, Leonardo has dedicated himself to social works with the Fundação Gol de Letra and the Fondazione Milan. He is also a sponsor of the Damoura Foundation which fights against inequalities in Brazil.

Leonardo Araujo professional career

Leonardo began his career with the Brazilian club Flamengo in 1987; at just 17, he was given the opportunity to play with his hero Zico plus Leandro, Bebeto and Renato Gaúcho, and to take part in winning his first Brazilian championship.

In 1990, Leonardo signed with São Paulo FC, and in 1991, Leonardo, Raí, and other young talents were assembled under the command of Brazilian legend Telê Santana, giving Leonardo his second Brazilian championship.

Leonardo made his international debut in 1990. He was selected as a leftback for the 1994 World Cup, keeping the young Roberto Carlos out of the team, much to his chagrin.

He was last selected to play for Brazil in the 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign and ended his international career in 2002 with 60 caps and 8 goals for Brazil.

Leonardo Araujo club career

An important

fact about Leonardo Araujo

is that he started his professional career in 1987 with the Brazilian team Flamengo, where he was given the chance to play with his idol Zico, as well as Leandro, Bebeto, and Renato Gacho, and to win his first Brazilian title at the age of 17.

São Paulo

Leonardo joined S. Paulo FC in 1990, and in 1991, he, Ra, and other young stars were gathered as part of the so-called "esquadro tricolor" ("three-colored team"), headed by Brazilian great Telê Santana, to win Leonardo his second Brazilian title.


A notable fact about Leonardo Araujo is that he made the move to European football later that year, joining


in Spain. He returned to Brazil in 1993 for a short spell with S. Paulo, when the club won many championships, including the coveted Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup.

Kashima Antlers

Leonardo joined the Kashima Antlers of the freshly created Japanese J1 League following the World Cup in 1994. Leonardo's career continued in Kashima, where he reunited with his hero and buddy Zico.

Paris Saint-Germain

In 1996, he returned to Europe, this time joining Paris Saint-Germain, where he was once again successful, with one of his goals assisting them in knocking


out of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals.

Due to his technical abilities, awareness, and positional knowledge, Leonardo had largely ceased playing as a left-back and went into the midfield, sometimes on the left side, as a winger, and sometimes in the center, as an advanced playmaker, or as an assisting striker. This had already resulted in some stunning goals for Leonardo in Japan, a pattern that continued in Europe.

Milan, Brazilian clubs and retirement

Leonardo Araujo left PSG in the summer of 1997 to join Italian club


for €8.5 million. With Milan, he became a key member of a star-studded left-wing squad. He stayed with the club for four seasons, winning the Serie A championship in 1998–99, and scored 12 goals in the process.

Before moving to Brazil with So Paulo and


, he scored 22 goals in 177 appearances for Milan. He subsequently returned to Milan, where he ended his career in 2003, winning the Coppa Italia in 2002–03.

Leonardo Araujo international career

A notable

fact about Leonardo Araujo

is that he was a member of the third-placed Brazil under-20 squad in the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship. In 1990, he made his entire international debut with Brazil. He was chosen as a left-back for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, obviating the inclusion of the young Roberto Carlos, much to his displeasure.

Leonardo performed well in the first few games before receiving a four-match ban for elbowing American player Tab Ramos in the head, resulting in a skull fracture that forced him to spend three and a half months in the hospital.

Leonardo was unable to compete for the rest of the tournament due to his ban. After Mauro Tassotti's eight-game punishment for fracturing Luis Enrique's nose during the same tournament, it was the second-longest ban in World Cup history. In 1995, he represented Brazil in the Copa América, when the squad reached the final.

An important fact about Leonardo Araujo is that he was assigned the number 10 jersey for the national squad in 1997. He was a key part of the 1997 Copa América winning squad, as well as the FIFA Confederations Cup later that year.

In his second World Cup, Leonardo appeared in all seven games, guiding Brazil to a second-place finish. He scored one goal and started celebrating against Morocco in the second round, but was subsequently ruled off-side.

He last played for Brazil in the 2002 World Cup qualification campaign, and he finished his international career with 60 appearances and eight goals for the country in 2002.

Since 2002, Leonardo has worked with the Fundaço Gol de Letra, which he co-founded with his buddy, former player Rai.

Leonardo Araujo coaching career

A notable fact about Leonardo Araujo is that he was examined for the vacant job of sporting director at West Ham United in the Premier League in December 2007.


Leonardo was named technical director of his old club Milan in early 2008. After 12 years as a resident in Italy, he was granted Italian citizenship later that year.

Leonardo was appointed head coach of Milan after

Carlo Ancelotti

departed to become the coach of Blues at the end of May 2009.

Despite the fact that he still lacks the necessary coaching credentials (he was set to attend a UEFA A coaching course in June 2009).

An important

fact about Leonardo Araujo

is that he was excused from having to get a UEFA Pro license, which is required for Serie A managers, since he was a previous World Cup champion as a player. Leonardo lost no time in stating his desire for his side to play beautiful attacking football, even mentioning his former mentor, Telê Santana.

After a dismal start to the season, which included a shock 0–4 defeat to crosstown rivals Internazionale, things began to improve for the rossoneri under Leonardo, due in part to the use of a 4–2–1–3 strategy (nicknamed "4–2–fantasy" by Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani).

This unconventional approach, which emphasized creative players such as


, Andrea Pirlo, and

Clarence Seedorf

, led Milan to improved results in both Serie A and the UEFA Champions League, including a stunning 3–2 win at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium against Real Madrid and a 3–0 away win against


, allowing Leonardo's side to finish second at the half-way point of the season, six points behind leaders Inter with a game remaining.

However, Milan's road to the Champions League final was cut short as Manchester United defeated them in the first knockout round with a 2–7 aggregate deficit (2–3, 0–4).

Leonardo may leave Milan at the conclusion of the season, according to reports in the closing weeks of the season. Leonardo acknowledged his differences with club owner and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in April 2010, describing their relationship as "complicated."

After Milan's season-ending game against Juventus, it was announced that Leonardo would depart by mutual consent. Leonardo waved an emotional farewell to a raucous San Siro crowd after leading his team to a 3–0 victory against Juventus.


After days of supposition, it was affirmed on December 24, 2010, that Leonardo would take over as head coach of Internazionale, substituting Rafael Benitez in a somewhat controversial decision, given the Brazilian's long career with adversaries Milan as both a player and a supervisor; he agreed to an 18-month contract that would expire on June 30, 2012.

Leonardo got off to a great start, scoring 30 points in 12 games, an average of 2.5 points per game, which was more than his predecessors Benitez and José Mourinho. Leonardo established a new Italian Serie A record on March 6, 2011, when he scored 33 points in 13 games, breaking Fabio Capello's previous mark of 32 points in 13 games set in 2004–05.

After losing the first leg at home, Leonardo led Inter to a historic 3–2 Champions League away win against

Bayern Munich

at the Allianz Arena on March 15, 2011.

Internazionale lost 3–0 to bitter rivals Milan on April 2, 2011, and after Inter fell 2–0 to relegation battlers


two weeks later, the club's championship hopes were essentially over. Inter lost 2–5 to Schalke 04 in the Champions League quarterfinals on April 6.

Internazionale beat Palermo 3–1 on May 29, 2011, to win Leonardo his first and only trophy as Inter manager, the Coppa Italia. On June 18, he resigned from Internazionale.

Leonardo Araujo career as executive

An important fact about Leonardo Araujo is that after certain media reported on discussions between Leonardo and the incoming Qatari investors of Paris Saint-Germain, where Leonardo had previously spent one season as a player in 1996–97, and speculation regarding his future at Inter emerged in June 2011.

Inter president Massimo Moratti then started looking for a successor for Leonardo, eventually appointing former Genoa coach Gian Piero Gasperini as the new head coach and terminating Leonardo's contract.

A notable fact about Leonardo Araujo is that he was appointed as PSG's new director of football in July 2011, with responsibility for the club's key transfer market choices.

His initial acquisitions featured many high-profile Serie A players, including Jérémy Ménez, Mohamed Sissoko, Salvatore Sirigu, Javier Pastore, and Thiago Motta, and he was the driving force behind his buddy Carlo Ancelotti's hiring as PSG's head coach.

After being accused of shoving a referee at the conclusion of a game against Valenciennes in which

Thiago Silva

was sent off, Leonardo was given a nine-month suspension in May 2013.

In July 2013, the prohibition was extended for another 13 months. He resigned as sports director on July 10th and departed the French champions at the end of August. The Paris Administrative Tribunal reversed his suspension in June 2014, and he stated that he will sue the French Football Federation for "professional" and "moral" damages.

Following the dismissal of Marco Fassone and Massimiliano Mirabelli from their respective positions as managing director and director of football at AC Milan, the club's new owners Elliott Management Corporation announced the hiring of Leonardo as their new sports director in July 2018.

In addition to becoming the club's director of football, he oversaw the acquisitions of

Gonzalo Higuain

and Mattia Caldara from Juventus as his first two signings. He received his sporting director diploma from the Coverciano Technical Centre in December 2018.

Leonardo was named the new sports director of the club on July 1, 2019, after his mutual departure from Milan. Abdou Diallo, Ander Herrera, Idrissa Gueye,

Mauro Icardi

, Pablo Sarabia, and Keylor Navas were among Leonardo's PSG acquisitions for the 2019–20 campaign.

The team went on to win the domestic triple and finish runner-up in the UEFA Champions League, which was their first appearance in the final.

Leonardo Araujo style of play

A notable fact about Leonardo Araujo is that he was a highly versatile left-footed midfielder who could play in a variety of positions across the pitch.

His preferred role was as a playmaker in midfield, either as a left winger or in a more central role, as an attacking midfielder or as a supporting striker, thanks to his ability to create chances for teammates.

He could also play as a central midfielder, in a deep-lying playmaking role, as a forward, and even Leonardo was a graceful and creative player who was known for his outstanding technical skills, vision, and tactical intelligence as a footballer, which made him an excellent assist provider.

He was also capable of scoring goals, thanks to his accuracy from set-pieces and powerful striking ability from distance, and was known to be a specialist from dead ball situations. He was frequently injured during his career, despite his skill and reputation as one of the greatest Brazilian players of his age.

Some quick facts about Leonardo Araujo:

He started as a starter in the Brazilian National Team, but was expelled in the key match against the United States corresponding to the round of 16 of the tournaments for intentionally elbowing the North American star Tab Ramos, causing him a skull fracture that kept him hospitalized for three months and away from the playing fields for many more months.

Leonardo's four-game suspension prevented him from participating in the rest of the competition. This was the first ban imposed in World Cup history, but it was quickly relegated by Italian defender Mauro Tassotti who was suspended for eight games for breaking the nose of Spanish striker

Luis Enrique

in the same quarterfinal round tournament.

In 1997, Leonardo was given the number 10 shirt for the national team, which won the Copa América in Bolivia and the FIFA Confederations Cup held in Saudi Arabia.

An important fact about Leonardo Araujo is that he played the seven games in the World Cup in France 98, achieving the runner-up. He participated in the qualifiers for the 2002 Soccer World Cup.

He began his career as technical director in the 2009 - 2010 season with AC Milan, but due to the team's discreet campaign locally and internationally, on May 14, 2010, he announced his departure from the rossonera entity.

On the 24 of December of 2010, he was officially confirmed as coach of the Inter Milan to replace Rafa Benitez, a position he held until end of season. He was also sports director of Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan. He is currently the sports director of the Parisian team for the second time.

After developing much of his post-retirement life as a manager within the club, he assumed the position of coach of AC Milan without having previous experience as a coach. He took over the team after Carlo Ancelotti left for Chelsea FC in England in 2009.

AC Milan fans saw his appointment as a low-cost gamble, as club owner Silvio Berlusconi had to cut expenses during the global economic crisis. The 2009-10 season was by no means easy for Leonardo, as he began with a lot of criticism about his ability and experienced really difficult moments, such as the painful 0-4 defeat in the Milan derby against Inter.

During the season he used the 4-3-3 system, but injuries and the few signings by the board decimated the team, to the point that he had to use players from other positions to cover the spaces.

In spite of everything, it was believed that Leonardo would continue to lead the rossonera entity, but the irregularity in the team's game in the international arena, demonstrated in the group stage in the 2009-10 UEFA Champions League without victories at home at the San Siro Stadium.

The Italian team was eliminated in an embarrassing tie against

Manchester United

in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League (7-2 aggregate result).

In December 2010, Leonardo signed as coach of the Inter Milan until June 30, 2012 replacing Rafa Benitez, who was fired after a poor start to the season in Serie A.

Leonardo led Inter to second place in Serie A after poor results in the middle of the season. In the Champions League, the Lombard team could not defend the title, being eliminated in the quarterfinals by FC Schalke 04, losing the round trip, 2-5 at home at Giuseppe Meazzaand 2-1 in Germany, respectively.

On the other hand, at the hands of Leonardo the Nerazzurri team saved the season by proclaiming themselves champion of the Italian Cup after beating Palermo 3-1 in the final.

Leonardo did not renew with Inter and became the sporting director of Paris Saint-Germain in July 2011. He resigned after two years in office.

On September 28, 2017, he became the new manager of Antalyaspor Kulübü. However, he left the post after only two months.

On July 25, 2018, he returned to AC Milan as the new sporting director. However, he resigned less than a year after his arrival at the Lombard club.

On the June 14, 2019, PSG announced the return of Leonardo to the post of sporting director, six years after leaving.

His new mandate began with the difficulties related to the management of


and the desire to restore rigor and discipline to the sports management of the club. He imposed his authority from the outset.

In an interview with Le Parisien newspaper, he reaffirmed the predominance of the club over individuals: “We should not be afraid. The club must make the choice of its destiny: not to suffer, all the time. We must eliminate the idea that people are doing favors at the club by being present.

This is not an aggressive message: it is the normality of a club like PSG. The rest is work. There are geniuses but they are rare. I believe in work, every day. We're talking about discipline, it's nothing extraordinary, it's just the norm."

At the same time, he opened the door for a departure from Neymar on condition that a satisfactory offer was presented. PSG's purchasing policy was reoriented towards greater moderation due to the constraints of financial fair play and the targeting of players that can bring the club a more combative state of mind that would allow it to move up to the Champions League.

The elimination of the reserve team, initiated by Antero Henrique, pushed Leonardo to quickly monetize the young players from the training center and barred by competition in the professional team.

The sales of Moussa Diaby, Christopher NKunku, Stanley Nsoki, Timothy Weah, Arthur Zagre and a few other youngsters allowed the club to gain more than 60 million euros in cash.

With these cash Leonardo managed to have two shots at the last day of the transfer window with the transfer of the goalkeeper Real Madrid, Keylor Navas, and the loan with option to buy at 70 million euros of the striker of Inter Milan, Mauro Icardi.

Leonardo Araujo social media


Leonardo Araujo social media

, it should be mentioned that he has an Instagram page (


) with 284 k followers. In the page there is only on post.

Leonardo Araujo body measurements

Speaking about

Leonardo Araujo body measurements

, it should be mentioned that the former star is 175 cm and 71 kg.

Leonardo Araujo net worth and salary

Leonardo Arajo's net worth

is estimated to be between $9-10 million, according to online resources. As a professional football Player, he earned the money.

Other than being a player and coach, during the 2006 World Cup, Leonardo worked for BBC Television in the United Kingdom as a Match of the Day pundit with Marcel Desailly, another previous World Cup champion. So, he has earned money by working in television.

On June 1, 2007, he returned to Match of the Day as an analyst with Alan Hansen and

Alan Shearer

. The first England match at the new Wembley Stadium ended in a 1–1 draw with Brazil.

But his other main source of income is being a scout. After his retirement from Milan, Leonardo has served as a kind of scout and agent for the club in Brazil, and the high regard in which he is held in his country has aided Milan in landing many world-class players.

Leonardo was a key figure in getting Kaká to Milan, and it was reported in July 2007 that he was one of the major reasons in persuading Alexandre Pato to join Milan.

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