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PSG announce Leonardo is to step down as sporting director

The Brazilian had been banned for the forthcoming season

Paris Saint-Germain this morning announced that Leonardo would step down as sporting director at the end of the transfer window.

The former Brazil midfielder would have been banned for all of the forthcoming season for pushing a referee after last week unsuccessfully appealing his initial ban.

Leonardo is banned until 30 June 2014 after shoulder-barging referee Alexandre Castro after Thiago Silva was sent off in a match last season. He was initially banned for nine months but this was extended on appeal.

“We regret his choice but respect his decision,” said a PSG club statement released this morning. “We thank him greatly for his important contributions towards the project of building a top European Club in Paris and wish him all the best.”

Leonardo presided over some unprecedented spending at Paris, as they brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lucas Moura, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore, Thiago Silva, David Beckham and others since the Qatari takeover. Paris are close to adding Edinson Cavani as their big summer signing.