Andrea Pirlo Fired by Juventus After 1 Season: Allegri Rejoins Club

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 28, 2021

Juventus' head coach Andrea Pirlo walks on the pitch during warmup before the Champions League, round of 16, second leg, soccer match between Juventus and Porto in Turin, Italy, Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
AP Photo/Luca Bruno

Juventus announced Friday manager Andrea Pirlo has been sacked after one season leading the Serie A club.

"For all this, for the courage, the dedication, the passion with which he demonstrated every day, our heartfelt thanks go out to Andrea, as well as our good luck for the future that will surely be a wonderful one," the team wrote in a statement.

James Horncastle of The Athletic reported Thursday that Juve are expected to rehire Massimiliano Allegri, who previously managed the club from 2014 through 2019.

The Bianconeri later confirmed the return of Allegri, who guided the club to 11 trophies, including five Serie A championships, and two Champions League finals during his first stint with the club:

"And now we are ready to begin again with Allegri, to build our future together; with his enormous professionalism, his moral strength, with the brilliant ideas of a coach capable of shuffling the cards, both on and off the pitch. With his smile, a sort of 'signature.' With his way of understanding football and life with simplicity, with his desire to play things down and with the commitment to enjoy every beautiful moment that being at Juventus can give and will give."

Pirlo, a former standout midfielder with AC Milan and Juventus, returned to the Turin-based club as manager last August.

His single term in charge wasn't without some success, as the club captured titles in both the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana. Juve didn't live up to expectations in its main competitions, however, finishing fourth in Serie A and getting knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16.

The former Italy international said before the club's season finale against Bologna last weekend he hoped to remain with Juventus.

"I like doing this job, it is normal that I would reconfirm my position because I like having this adrenaline and pressure," Pirlo told reporters. "You need to feel the blood running through your veins, and I want to continue working with this squad and this club."

The club instead opted to go in a different direction with the return of Allegri, who had hinted interest in a potential reunion in March.

"It's impossible to tell, besides, Andrea Pirlo is there now and in my view he's doing well. I don't know what Juve are missing," Allegri said at the time. "They are in the Coppa Italia Final, won the Supercoppa, are fighting for the top four. The Champions League is a bit of a lottery, it can turn on a sixpence. I want to return in June because I have fun and I have great passion."

With the managerial question now answered, the focus will likely shift to the future of Cristiano Ronaldo, who's become the subject of transfer rumors heading into the summer window.

Italian outlet Il Messaggero  (h/t Marca) reported Thursday Ronaldo, who has one year left on his contract, has informed teammates he's planning to leave the club in the coming months. Two of his former teams, Manchester United and Sporting Lisbon, have been linked with a possible blockbuster transfer.

In April, La Repubblica (h/t Football Italia) reported that Allegri had told Juve chairman Andrea Agnelli to "get rid of Ronaldo" before he parted ways with the club two years ago.

So the manager's return could spell the end of the forward's three-year run with the club.