Juventus have appointed Andrea Pirlo as coach just hours after Maurizio Sarri was sacked after the Champions League elimination against Lyon, the club announced on Saturday.
The 41-year-old Pirlo was a legendary player for the club – as well as AC Milan and Italy – throughout his career. In 2006 he won numerous championship titles, the Champions League and a world championship. He was named manager of Juventus’ Under -23 side just last month but has now signed a two-year deal to coach the first team.
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“Today’s decision is based on the belief that Pirlo has what it takes to move from his debut on the bench as an expert and talented squad to new heights,”
“Today begins a new chapter in his career in the world of football, as was said almost a week ago: from Maestro to Mister,” he added.
Juventus may be hoping Pirlo can replicate the successes of Zinedine Zidane, another former world-class player who did well at Real Madrid despite lacking coaching experience.
Ex-Juve player Zidane has won two La Liga and three Champions League titles in two stints with the Spanish team since he first held the reins.
“Choosing Pirlo was very natural, Juventus-style, because he is someone who has played for us, has always been in contact with everyone here and it felt natural,” said club boss Fabio Paratici.
“We also believe he is meant to be great. He was as a player and we are confident he can do the same as a coach.”
Under Sarri, Juventus had to accept a round of 16 for the French club despite a 2-1 win on Friday evening and lost the rule for away goals when the draw ended 2-2 overall.
A Juventus statement said of his dismissal: “Juventus Football Club announces that Maurizio Sarri has been relieved of his post as first team coach.
“The club would like to thank the coach for writing a new page in Juventus history by winning the ninth straight championship. This is the culmination of a personal journey that led him to climb all the divisions of Italian football . “
Despite winning a ninth straight Serie A title last month, Sarri’s team failed to convince critics in his first responsible season. Failure to reach the quarter-finals last season in the Champions League was the final straw for the 61-year-old.
Sarri leaves Juventus with a record of 34 wins in 51 competitive games, eight draws and nine defeats. Her record of 83 points in Serie A this season was the lowest of her nine seasons. Juventus also lost the Italian Supercup to Lazio and the Coppa Italia final to Napoli.
“If I wasn’t devastated, if I didn’t qualify, I would be happy with the performance,” said Sarri after Juventus’ loss to Lyon.
“I actually expected less from us. I think we played a great game. We fell back to a penalty that could have lost our heads and we had three chances when we were 2-1 ahead.”
Meanwhile, Juventus boss Andrea Agnelli said he was firmly convinced that Cristiano Ronaldo would stay at the club, despite having left the Champions League in the last 16 for the first time since 2010.
A report in France claimed that Ronaldo wanted to move to Paris Saint-Germain. Sources have told ESPN that the Ligue 1 side are giving priority to key player Kylian Mbappe and Neymar renewals.
“I am absolutely convinced that he will stay,” said Agnelli. “I think the report was based on an interview a few months ago that was just published just before we played against a French team. It’s an old media trick. No, I can assure you that Ronaldo remains a pillar of Juventus . “”
Information from Reuters was used in this report.