ROME: Italian champions Juventus have sacked Maurizio Sarri and replaced him with coaching notice Andrea Pirlo after their club’s exit from Champions League at the hands of Lyon on Friday night.
Pirlo, who made 164 appearances for Juve between 2011 and 2015, was named as their under-23s manager only 10 days ago but the 41-year-old gets an immediate promotion on a two-year contract.
A club statement said: “Today begins a new chapter of his career in the world of football. As it was said about a week ago: from Maestro to Mister.
“From today he will be the coach for the Juventus people, as the club has decided to entrust him with the technical leadership of the first team, after having already selected him for Juventus Under-23.
“This choice is based on the belief Pirlo has what it takes to lead, from his debut on the bench, an expert and talented squad to pursue new successes.”
Sarri had led Juventus to the Serie A title in his first season at the club but the Champions League failure proved fatal. Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice against Lyon but Memphis Depay’s penalty was crucial to lead the French side to a surprise victory.
Juve lost four of the 12 matches since the restart before their exit from Europe.
Following his sacking by Chelsea at the end of the 2018-19 season, former banker Sarri succeeded Massimiliano Allegri in Turin and opened his reign with a 14-game unbeaten run in Serie A, a campaign that featured stronger challenges from Inter Milan and Lazio.
It was to the latter that Juve first lost in the league last December, allowing Lazio and Inter into the title race.
When domestic football resumed in June after the coronavirus shutdown, Juve’s poor form saw them struggle to beat Antonio Conte’s Inter to the Scudetto by a single point. Ronaldo took to Instagram following Sarri’s dismissal, urging the team to come back stronger next season.
“The 2019-20 season is over for us, much later than usual but yet sooner than expected,” he said. “Now it’s time for reflection, because critical thinking is the only way to improve. A huge club such as Juventus must always think like the best in the world, work like the best in the world, so that we can call ourselves one of the best in the world.
“Winning the Serie A once again in such a difficult year is something that we are very proud of. Personally, scoring 37 goals for Juventus and 11 for the Portuguese national team is something that makes me face the future with renewed ambition and desire to keep doing better and better each year.
“But the fans demand more from us. They expect more from us. And we have to deliver, we must live up to the highest expectations. May this short vacation break allow us all to make the best decisions for the future and come back stronger and more committed than ever. See you soon!”