Juventus have announced the return of Massimiliano Allegri as manager after sacking Andrea Pirlo on Friday.
Allegri was the favourite to succeed the departing Pirlo, who failed to win the Serie A title with Juve for the first time in 11 years.
Allegri was Juve manager from 2014 to 2019 and won the league title in each of those five campaigns as well as the Coppa Italia on four occasions.
Under Allegri, Juve also reached the Champions League final twice. Prior to joining Juve, Allegri had led AC Milan to their last Serie A title in 2010-11.
A club statement read: “Massimiliano Allegri is the Juventus manager once more. Allegri finds a bench that he knows very well, a club that he loves and that loves him back, as today a new journey begins together, towards new goals.
“What he achieved in his first adventure at Juventus are engraved in the club’s history: five Scudetti, to the four-consecutive doubles, coupled with the Coppa Italia and to the two Super Cups, reaching two Champions League finals in just three seasons, in what were epic feats both in Italy and in Europe.
“We said goodbye two years ago with the message, “History Alone”, the message on the back of the shirt given to Massimiliano Allegri by President Andrea Agnelli with an embrace and a shirt, on which in just two words encapsulated Allegri’s experience at Juve.
“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 one. Always.
“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.”
Juve announced Pirlo’s sacking earlier on Friday in a statement that read: “Thank you, Andrea. These are the first words that all of us need to say at the end of this special experience together.
“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.”
Pirlo, a three-time Serie A winner as a player for Juve, was hired in his first senior management role at the beginning of the 2020-21 season after Maurizio Sarri left following the Bianconeri’s elimination in the Champions League round of 16 to Lyon.
The decision comes after a disappointing campaign in which Juve again exited in the Champions League at the same stage — this time against FC Porto — and are only in next season’s competition as Napoli’s home draw with Hellas Verona allowed them to finish in fourth place on the final day of the Serie A season.
Juventus’ statement continued: “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.”
Pirlo thanked Juve with a lengthy posted on Instagram which read: “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.”
“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.”