Juventus have reappointed Massimiliano Allegri as manager, having sacked Andrea Pirlo after only one season in charge.
It has been a disappointing campaign for the Bianconeri, who failed to win Serie A for the first time since 2011. While Pirlo did manage to nab fourth place on the final day of the season at the expense of Napoli, securing Champions League football next term, it was touch-and-go as to whether Juve would end up in the Europa League.
His departure was confirmed on Friday morning, just a few hours before the club confirmed that Allegri would be returning to the club where he won 11 trophies and reached two Champions League finals.
“We said goodbye, two years ago, with a message, ‘History Alone’, delivered by our president to the coach: a hug and a shirt on which, in two words, all Allegri’s experience at Juve was,” a Juventus statement announcing Allegri’s return said
“The beauty of the story, however, is that it never stops. And in football, this means a concept that we have ingrained in our DNA: the best victory is the next. Always.
“And then we are ready to restart with Allegri, to build our future together; with his enormous professionalism, his moral strength, with the brilliant ideas of a technician capable of clearing the cards, on and off the pitch.
“With his smile, a sort of ‘signature’. With his way of understanding football and life: simplicity, desire to play down, commitment to enjoy every beautiful moment that living at Juventus can give and will give.”
Pirlo won the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana but, for a club as ambitious as Juve, it was never going to be enough.
He was named as Maurizio Sarri’s successor last August just over a week after being appointed to coach the under-23s, having spent four triumphant seasons in Turin as a player.
A statement announcing his departure said: “A few months ago, Andrea Pirlo, an icon of world football, began his new adventure, his first as a coach.
“To do this, first of all, it takes courage, as well as awareness of one’s own means, especially in a period marked by thousands of difficulties, with the world forced by the pandemic to reinvent its own rules day after day.
“Pirlo has just begun the first steps of what will no doubt become a brilliant career as a coach. An adventure of transformation, seeking, and often managing, to bring his ideas and his experience as a champion on the pitch from the ‘other side’ of the fence.
“And since in football, what counts are the victories, let’s remember them. In the space of a few short months Pirlo’s Juve has raised two trophies: the Italian Supercup and the Coppa Italia. And he, as coach, brought home brilliant victories on the most prestigious of fields, from San Siro to Camp Nou.
“For all this, 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. As well as our good luck for the future that will surely be a wonderful one.”
Allegri returns to Juve after two years away from management. He has been linked with some of the most prestigious jobs in Europe in that time, most recently at Real Madrid.
In his first spell at the club, between 2014 and 2019, he won the Scudetto five times and twice led Juve to the Champions League final. He was on the losing side on both occasions, tasting defeat against Barcelona in 2015 and again when Juve faced Real two years later.
Allegri also won the Coppa Italia four times, making him one of the most successful Juventus managers of all time. He also won Serie A with AC Milan in 2011, the last time anyone other than Juve had won the title before Antonio Conte’s success with Inter Milan this season.