Massimiliano Allegri returns as Juventus ditch Andrea Pirlo after one season in charge


TURIN: Juventus have sacked coach Andrea Pirlo after one season in charge, the Serie A club said in a statement on Friday.

Pirlo was appointed last summer with no prior coaching experience and could only lead reigning Serie A champions Juventus to fourth place this season. The club has replaced the 42-year-old with Massimiliano Allegri, who has returned to the club for a second spell as manager. 

“For the courage, the dedication, the passion with which he demonstrated every day, our thanks go to the Maestro, the Coach and to Andrea, that really comes from the heart,” the statement read.

“As well as our good luck for the future that will surely be a wonderful one. These are the first words that all of us need to say at the end of this special experience together.”

Pirlo started his first season in charge of a senior side looking to make it 10 successive Serie A titles for Juve, but the rookie coach struggled.

Juve even headed into the final day of the season facing the prospect of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2011-12, but victory over Bologna, and other results going their way, saw them scrape in.

“It’s been an intense, complicated year but still wonderful. When I got the call from Juventus, I never thought about the risk I was taking,” Pirlo said.

“If I had to go back I would make the exact same choice again, although aware of all the obstacles I encountered in such a difficult time for everyone, which prevented me from better planning my intentions and my style of play.” 

“This adventure, despite an unexpected ending, made it even clearer what I would like my future to be, which I hope will be just as complete and fulfilling as the one I experienced as a player.”

While Pirlo did manage to win the Coppa Italia by beating Atalanta earlier this month, Juve’s league position, coupled with a second-successive Champions League last-16 exit, put the coach’s job in danger.

Allegri won five Serie A titles in a row in his first spell in Turin between 2014 and 2019, as well as lifting the Coppa Italia four times and finishing as Champions League runners-up twice, but he has not coached since.

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Sagar Biswas

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