Leonardo Resigns as Sporting Director at Paris St.-Germain Due to Looming Ban

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2013

NYON, SWITZERLAND - MARCH 15:  Leonardo, Paris Saint-Germain Sporting Director looks on after the UEFA Champions League quarter finals draw at the UEFA headquarters on March 15, 2013 in Nyon, Switzerland.  (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Leonardo alerted Paris Saint-Germain of his desire to leave his post as sporting director at the end of the current transfer window and the club will respect his decision, according to its official site.

We regret his choice but respect his decision. 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 for his future career choice.

The announcement comes as Leonardo faced a 13-month ban due to contact with a referee following a match last season, the BBC reports. He was originally handed a nine-month ban, but it was increased to cover the entire upcoming campaign after appeal.

Leonardo assumed the position two years ago and has overseen the rapid growth of the club into a championship contender. Led by many of the signings he helped finalize, the Parisians were able the capture the Ligue 1 last season.

Paris Saint-Germain have become a global transfer powerhouse due to their willingness to spend seemingly any amount of money to land coveted transfer targets. As sporting director, it was Leonardo's job to identify and land those key pieces.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Thiago Motta are among the big names to arrive at Parc des Princes during his run with the club. Whoever replaces him will be charged with maintaining the club's progress toward becoming a consistently elite European side.

Despite Leonardo's dispute of the claims that led to the suspension, the BBC report states Paris Saint-Germain will also receive a three-point deduction next season in connection with his ban. They won the title by 12 points last season.

The club recently hired Laurent Blanc as its new manager to replace Carlo Ancelotti, who exited for Real Madrid. So the Parisians will be operating with some new faces in positions of power moving forward, but it's hard to imagine it's going to slow them down.

Leonardo deserves a lot of credit for the job he did with Paris Saint-Germain, but the ban put him in a tough position and he decided the best course of action was to step down from his position. So that's what will happen at the end of the transfer window.