Juventus sack Andrea Pirlo after one season, thank manager for 'special experience'

Massimiliano Allegri expected to return for second spell as manager, according to reports

epa09224234 Juventus' coach Andrea Pirlo reacts during the  Italian Serie A soccer match Bologna FC vs Juventus FC at Renato Dall'Ara stadium in Bologna, Italy, 23 May 2021.  EPA/ELISABETTA BARACCHI
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Juventus have decided to sack manager Andrea Pirlo after just one season in charge.

Pirlo was appointed last summer, even though he had no prior coaching experience. He could only lead Juve to fourth place this season. Massimiliano Allegri is expected to return for a second spell as manager, according to Reuters.

Juventus, in a statement on their website, said: "Thanks 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 a new adventure on the Juventus bench, 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.

"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 started his first season in charge of a senior side aiming to make it 10 straight Serie A titles for Juve. However, he struggled.

Juve headed into the final day of the season facing the possibility of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2011-12. However, victory over Bologna and other favourable results avoided them the embarrassment.

Pirlo did manage to win the Coppa Italia against Atalanta earlier this month. But Juve's results in the league and a second-successive Champions League last-16 exit brought a premature end to his coaching stint.

Pirlo's reported replacement – Allegri – won five Serie A titles in a row in his first spell in Turin between 2014 and 2019. He also lifted the Coppa Italia four times and finished as Champions League runners-up twice.