OK, so Take 2 on this one. Less than one hour after I had written about the massive shake-ups about to take place at Juventus, they go and sack their manager. Typical.
They are the Champions of Italy, but something is evidently wrong in Turin, as Juventus wielded the axe and sacked manager Maurizio following their departure from the Champions League at the hands of French club Lyon on Friday night.
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The Turin club lurched to a one-point triumph in Serie A in this past elongated season, losing four and drawing two of their last 10 matches in all competitions. That is not the form a club of Juventus’ stature accepts, and Sarri paid the price less than 18 hours after their embarrassing exit to unrated French side Lyon.
Almost as a harbinger of things to come, Juventus said they will take a few days to assess the damage in the wake of the early departure from the world’s elite club competition. Famous last words.
And so it proved to be. Sarri, 61, was in charge for only one season and had been widely criticised by the Italian media despite leading Juventus to a ninth successive Serie A title last month.
So the rebuilding begins from the top at Juventus. Who will come in will be anyone’s guess. Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino tops the odds, ahead of Massimiliano Allegri, Simone Inzaghi and Andrea Pirlo, but whomever arrives, there is one big question: Will star playmaker Cristiano Ronaldo be in Juve’s ranks for next season?
With the need for fresh legs at the Turin club becoming ever more apparent, Ronaldo may have played his last match, leaving to generate some urgently needed spending money for the summer transfer market.
Agnelli said he hopes the former and Real Madrid hero will remain. “He’s a pillar of Juventus,” he said. But money talks, and so does the demand for a Champions League trophy, something that is over for another year for Juventus, and something that seems less likely with an ageing Ronaldo in an ageing squad next term.
Agnelli almost accepted as much when he said: “The Champions League has been a dream for us, but now it must become an objective.”