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Maldini, Figo quit on a day of goodbyes

Milan: AC Milan clinched the third automatic Champions League place after comfortably winning 2-0 at fourth-placed Fiorentina on a day of goodbyes for Serie A on Sunday.

Brazilians Kaka and Alexandre Pato netted in the second half in Paolo Maldini’s last game before retirement and the final match in charge for Carlo Ancelotti, who is now widely expected to join Chelsea.

Fiorentina could have snatched third spot with a handsome win, which would have put them level with Milan but with a better head-to-head record, but instead they will have to settle for Champions League qualifiers next term. The final day of the season was kinder to Juventus, who beat Lazio 2-0 thanks to Vincenzo Iaquinta’s double and finished second thanks to their better record over Milan.

The victory boosts Ciro Ferrara’s hopes of being given the coach’s job full time following Claudio Ranieri’s sacking earlier this month.

Juve’s Pavel Nedved, playing against his former side, received a standing ovation from the Turin crowd on his final game for the club.

The Czech winger, 36, will decide soon whether to retire or accept other offers in Italy or elsewhere.

The city’s other club, Torino, had a dreadful day in contrast and were relegated after three seasons in the top flight. They lost 2-3 at AS Roma and will join already-relegated Reggina and Lecce in Serie B next term.

The sloppy defeat, typical of an inconsistent season, meant Bologna were safe irrespective of their 3-1 win over Catania.

Inter Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, still considering his future, ended up as Serie A’s top scorer with 25 goals after netting twice as the champions won 4-3 at home to Atalanta.

Inter’s retiring winger Luis Figo said goodbye to football with an emotional farewell at the San Siro.

He was substituted just before halftime to wild applause with coach Jose Mourinho, who otherwise let his minor coaching team sit on the bench instead of his usual staff, gave his Portuguese compatriot a huge embrace.

Milan’s Brazilian sporting director Leonardo will replace Ancelotti as coach at the San Siro, chief executive Adriano Galliani said.

“In agreement with the club, we have decided to bring forward the expiry of my contract. This beautiful adventure at Milan is over,” he said .

“I can’t say anything else official. I have not made any agreement with any other club.”

Torino became the third and final team to be relegated from Serie A on Sunday when it lost 2-3 away to AS Roma in the last round. Torino needed to win and hope relegation rivals Bologna dropped points to avoid joining Reggina and Lecce in Serie B next season. Bologna beat Catania 3-1 to finish in the 17th place with 37 points, while Torino ended on 34.

(Rueters)

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