Report: Cristiano Ronaldo Approves of Juventus' Maurizio Sarri MoveJune 4, 2019
Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly given his approval regarding the Italian champions' move for Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri.
According to Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport (h/t MailOnline's Adam Shergold), Ronaldo is "curious" about working with the former Napoli boss. Sarri is said to be awaiting approval of the Blues before sealing his switch to the Serie A champions.
Blogger Arjun Prandeep shared the Tuttosport cover:
Arjun Pradeep @IndianRegista
🇮🇹 📰 | Front page of TS headlines that Cristiano Ronaldo has given his YES to Sarri. CR7 is ready to work with an offensive Coach who's always been estimated highly by his attackers. Sarri is waiting for the final OK from London and then he'll be in Turin to sign with Juve. https://t.co/k8msqmySJQ
The current Chelsea boss hinted he's close to returning to Italy in an interview with Vanity Fair (h/t Football Italia):
"For us Italians, the lure of going home is strong.
"You feel that something is missing. It was a heavy year. I began to feel the weight of distant friends, my elderly parents, who I rarely see.
"But at my age, I only make professional choices. The Neapolitans know the love I feel for them.
"I chose to go abroad last year so as not to join another Italian team. This profession can lead to other paths, my relationship with them won’t change."
Sarri has emerged as the clear favourite to become the new manager of Juventus, who parted with Massimiliano Allegri at the end of the 2018-19 season.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has also been mentioned as a possibility, and both Il Sole 24 Ore and Bloomberg (h/t Football Italia) are adamant he will join. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has committed his future to the Sky Blues, however, per Tuttosport (h/t Football Italia):
Sarri's first season with the Blues ended with a third-placed Premier League finish and European silverware, as the Blues beat Arsenal 4-1 in the UEFA Europa League final.
Per commentator Arlo White, the former banker was often "mocked and derided" during his spell in England:
He remains a popular figure in Italy, where he used his intricate style of play to great effect at Empoli and Napoli. The Partenopei became an attacking juggernaut under his watch, finishing just four points behind Juventus during his final season in charge.
Gonzalo Higuain and Dries Mertens are two of the attacking players who enjoyed their greatest personal success under Sarri, with the former scoring a career-high 36 goals in the 2016-17 Serie A campaign. He's under contract at Juventus and spent the second half of the past season on loan at Chelsea.
In the same season, Mertens scored 28 goals, more than doubling his previous career-high of 11 in the Italian top division. Sports writer Matteo Bonetti believes Paulo Dybala could play a similar role:
Ronaldo found plenty of success in his first season with the club, although he only finished third in the top scorers' race, behind Sampdoria's Fabio Quagliarella and Atalanta's Duvan Zapata.
He scored 21 Serie A goals and remains among the world's best forwards. The best example of his ability came in the 3-0 UEFA Champions League win over Atletico Madrid, where he bagged a hat-trick:
Juventus' attacking potential wasn't fully realised under Allegri last season, and the club finished with 70 Serie A goals in total, which was less than Napoli and Atalanta. Sarri's emphasis on attacking and ball movement should open up more opportunities for Ronaldo, who won't have to force things with his individual brilliance as often.
According to Shergold, Chelsea are demanding £5 million from Juventus in compensation to release Sarri, and he'll sign a three-year deal once they pay. Derby manager and club legend Frank Lampard is among the candidates to replace him at Stamford Bridge.