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Allegri returns to Juventus after Pirlo sacking

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Rome, May 28 (IANS) Juventus announced the appointment of Massimiliano Allegri for a second stint on Friday having parted company with Andrea Pirlo after the Italian club failed to win the Serie A for the first time in 10 seasons.

The Turin club had won nine league titles in a row but could only finish fourth in Pirlo’s sole campaign in charge as Inter Milan took the championship. Now Allegri, who won five Serie A titles from 2015 to 2019 before surprisingly being fired, has returned, DPA reports.

“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,” said Juventus in a statement.

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Juve president Andrea Agnelli’s decision to axe Allegri two years ago stunned many after the 53-year-old also ended up as Champions League runner-up twice and won four Italian Cups.

The club indicated at the time that a cycle was ending and the team’s form had dipped. But the coach remained popular among the players, especially star player Cristiano Ronaldo, according to reports.

Allegri, who also won a Serie A title with AC Milan in 2011, has been out of work since leaving so was the logical replacement for Pirlo.

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Pirlo, an Italy 2006 World Cup winner and former Juve and Milan midfielder, had never previously coached when he took over last August from Maurizio Sarri, who was sacked despite winning Serie A in his only season.

“It has been an intense and complicated year but still marvellous,” said Pirlo in a statement.

“When I was called up by Juventus I never thought about the risk I was taking, although it was quite obvious. (But) If I went back in time, I would make exactly the same decision,” he said.

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Pirlo, 42, won the Super Cup and Italian Cup but his side were 13 points adrift of Inter.

Italy has seen big coaching changes since the season ended this month with Antonio Conte, who started Juve’s run of titles, departing Inter and Gennaro Gattuso leaving Napoli for Fiorentina.

Juve paid tribute to Pirlo.

“A few months ago, Andrea Pirlo, an icon of world football, began his new adventure, his first as a coach,” Juve wrote.

“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,” the club said.

–IANS

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