Just in: juventus name Andrea pirlo new coach

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Juventus have appointed Andrea Pirlo as coach just hours after sacking Maurizio Sarri following the club’s Champions League elimination against Lyon, the club announced on Saturday.

Pirlo, 41, was a legendary player for the club, as well as AC Milan and Italy over his storied career, winning numerous league titles, the Champions League and a World Cup in 2006. He was appointed manager of Juventus’ Under-23 side just last month but has now signed a two-year contract to coach the first team.

Under Sarri, Juventus suffered a round of 16 exit to the French club despite a 2-1 win on Friday night, losing on the away goals rule as the tie ended 2-2 on aggregate.

A Juventus statement said of his sacking: “Juventus Football Club announces that Maurizio Sarri has been relieved of his post as coach of the First Team.

“The club would like to thank the coach for having written a new page in Juventus’ history with the victory of the ninth-consecutive championship, the culmination of a personal journey that led him to climb all the divisions of Italian football.”

Despite winning a ninth successive Serie A title last month, Sarri’s team did not managed to convince the critics during his first season in charge. Their failure to even match last season’s quarterfinals performance in the Champions League was the final straw for the 61-year-old.

Sarri leaves Juventus with a record of 34 wins in 51 competitive matches, eight draws and nine defeats. Their tally of 83 points in Serie A this season was the lowest of their nine-season run of titles. Juventus also lost the Italian Supercup to Lazio and the Coppa Italia final to Napoli.

“If I wasn’t devastated by not qualifying, I’d be happy with the performance,” Sarri said after Juventus’ defeat to Lyon.

“I actually expected less from us, I think we played a great game. We fell behind to a penalty kick that could have made us lose our heads and we had three chances when we were 2-1 ahead.”

Meanwhile, Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli said he was adamant Cristiano Ronaldo would stay at the club despite him exiting the Champions League at the round of 16 stage for the first time since 2010.

A report in France had claimed Ronaldo wanted to move to Paris Saint-Germain. Sources have told ESPN, though, the Ligue 1 side are prioritising the contract renewals of key players Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

“I am entirely convinced he will stay,” Agnelli said. “I think the report was down to an interview from several months ago, which just happened to be published just before we played against a French team. It’s an old media trick. No, I can assure you that Ronaldo remains a pillar of Juventus.”

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