Juventus made two very important announcements the day after their disappointing UEFA Champions League exit against Lyon in the round of 16. The first one came to be not much of a surprise that it happened, but more shocking of just how fast it happened, and that was Juventus firing their manager, Maurizio Sarri, after just one year in charge. The second announcement was the appointment of Club legend Andrea Pirlo as their new manager just nine days after Pirlo was hired as the head coach of the Juventus’ U23 squad.
Many people were not too surprised that Sarri was relieved of his duties after Juventus had a rather underwhelming season for their standards. Even though Juventus won their ninth consecutive Serie A Title, they only won the league by one point in a year where the league was not as strong as usual. Juventus lost in the Supercoppa Italiana Final to Lazio 3-1, while also losing the Coppa Italia Final to Sarri’s old club Napoli 4-2 in a penalty shootout.
On the other hand, the hiring of Pirlo was a complete and utter shock to everyone, as no one saw this coming. The biggest surprise of it all was just how fast it all came together; you would think that Juventus would maybe want to take their time in making sure they find the right manager for the club. Especially when you consider the fact that Pirlo had only been managing for nine days prior to this announcement.
This would also make you think that a team like Juventus that sets the bar so high every single year would want to hire an experienced manager to be able to take them over the top by winning the UEFA Champions League. An experienced manager like Mauricio Pochettino, who in five years at Tottenham Hotspur managed to change the culture by helping develop players like Harry Kane and Dele Alli who have both become highly touted players across the world.
His player development was so crucial to Tottenham’s success because of how frugal they have been over the years in the transfer market. Pochettino also helped Tottenham reach their first UEFA Champions League Final; a game in which they lost to Liverpool 2-0. But, what Pochettino has that Pirlo doesn’t is experience and a track record with a big club. That’s important because Juventus is a team that is not necessarily in rebuild mode and has aspirations to win the Champions League. It will be interesting to see if Pirlo has what it takes to lead them to glory.
A lot of questions surround Juventus with the hiring of Pirlo to be their new manager. Questions like, what kind of playstyle will Pirlo implement, what are the expectations that Juventus have for Pirlo, will Pirlo hire any assistant coaches who have a lot of experience, and most importantly, how will he get along with Cristiano Ronaldo?
All of these questions are very important, and will all be answered by the end of the next season, but that’s if Pirlo makes it through the entire season. Juventus has an aging squad that is in some ways on the decline, and it will be interesting to see if Pirlo will have any input on future signings made by Juventus.
Fabio Paratici, Juventus’ Chief Football Officer, said that “This decision was very natural, Juventus style. We believe Andrea is predestined for greatness: he was as a player and we are convinced he will be as a coach too.”
This statement is a bit puzzling because most people know that just because someone was a great player, does not mean that they will be a great manager as well. Some prime examples of this in the past have been, Diego Maradona, Gary Neville, Tony Adams, Alan Shearer, Roy Keane, Ruud Gullit, and many more.
There have also been great players that have also become successful managers like, Zinedine Zidane, Johan Cruyff, Didier Deschamps, Carlo Ancelotti, Kenny Dalglish, Diego Simeone, etc. Juventus of course is hoping for the latter with Pirlo.
It will be very interesting to see how the rest of the summer plays out for Juventus and the impact that Pirlo will have on Juventus this season. Especially when talking about what they will do in the transfer market, and if any big-name players will come to Juventus to play for Pirlo. One thing for sure is that Juventus will definitely be a team that everyone has their eyes on this season.
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