Report: Maurizio Sarri Could Be on Juventus Bench vs. Napoli Following Pneumonia

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 29, 2019

NANJING, CHINA - JULY 24: Head coach Maurizio Sarri of Juventus gives instruction during the International Champions Cup match between Juventus and FC Internazionale at the Nanjing Olympic Center Stadium on July 24, 2019 in Nanjing, China. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)
Fred Lee/Getty Images

Maurizio Sarri is reportedly hopeful of taking charge of Juventus when they face his former club, Napoli, on Saturday after recovering from pneumonia.

Sarri, 60, missed Juve's opening 1-0 win at Parma, but Reuters cited reports in the Italian media that alleged he had been photographed back on the training ground ahead of Napoli's visit to Turin.

Defender Giorgio Chiellini scored the only goal in Saturday's away fixture, when assistant manager Giovanni Martusciello took charge of the team in Sarri's absence.

Juventus released a statement initially announcing their manager's illness would keep him off the sidelines for the first two games of the season, though it appears he's ahead in his recovery.

ANSA (h/t Reuters) reported the Juventus hierarchy were disappointed to see images surface showing Sarri with a pack of cigarettes in his hand, despite still being in the phases of recovery.

The tactician is also likely motivated to return in time to face former employers Napoli. Defending champions Juventus will host last season's runners-up in a fixture that's sure to have an impact on the Serie A title race.

Former Manchester United and United States goalkeeper Tim Howard recently said he could envision Sarri being shown the Juventus exit in the near future:

B/R Football @brfootball

Tim Howard on Maurizio Sarri at Juventus: 'I could see this being short-lived' https://t.co/OEh5CmMkq7

The Bianconeri have won the scudetto eight seasons running, but the club parted ways with Massimiliano Allegri at the end of last season and face a less certain future with Sarri.

Commentator Adam Summerton backed the Turin giants to maintain their hold on Italian football despite the change in manager:

Adam Summerton @adamsummerton

@Bryman1988 @SerieA Juve the favourites, but can see Napoli, and potentially Inter getting closer. Much depends on how quickly Juve adjust to Sarri imo

Sarri has beaten Juventus three times in his career (all while at Napoli) and could recover in time to manage from the other side of that rivalry on Saturday.