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Andrea Pirlo: Juventus sack head coach with Massimiliano Allegri set to replace him

Andrea Pirlo led Juventus to the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana titles but they finished fourth in Serie A and secured a Champions League spot on the final day of the season; Massimiliano Allegri is set to re-join the club two years after leaving

Image: Andrea Pirlo has been relieved of his duties at the Allianz Stadium

Andrea Pirlo has been sacked as Juventus head coach.

The Turin club are close to announcing the return of Massimiliano Allegri as their head coach to replace Pirlo, according to Sky in Italy, with the 53-year-old expected to re-sign within the next 24 hours.

Pirlo took over from Maurizio Sarri in August last year and guided Juve to the Coppa Italia and Suppercoppa Italiana but they finished fourth in Serie A, missing out on the Italian top-flight title for the first time in 10 years to Inter Milan, and they salvaged a spot in next season's Champions League on the final day of the season.

Juve issued the following message to Pirlo upon his departure from the Allianz Stadium: "Thank you, 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 his new adventure, 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.

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"And since in football, what counts are the victories, let's remember them: in the space of a few short months Pirlo's Juve has raised two trophies: The Italian Supercup and the Coppa Italia. And he, as coach, brought home brilliant victories on the most prestigious of fields, from San Siro to Camp Nou.

"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."

Andrea Pirlo played 164 times for Juventus from 2012 to 2015 and helped them towards four Serie A titles
Image: Andrea Pirlo played 164 times for Juventus from 2011 to 2015 and helped them towards four Serie A titles

The 42-year-old, who won seven major honours for Juventus as a player from 2011 to 2015, managed the club's U23s side before assuming the role of first-team head coach in 2020.

The 2006 World Cup winner's Juventus side headed into the final day of the season facing the prospect of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2011/12, but victory over Bologna, and Napoli failing to beat Hellas Verona, saw his side scrape in.

Juve being knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 phase for the second time in successive seasons also did not help the former Italy international's cause.

Massimiliano Allegri won five successive Serie A titles with Juventus before leaving in the summer of 2019
Image: Massimiliano Allegri won five successive Serie A titles with Juventus before leaving in the summer of 2019

Meanwhile, Allegri is expected to come back to the Turin giants on a €9m (£7.7m)-a-year deal, according to Sky in Italy, two years after he departed the club.

Allegri guided Juve to two Champions League finals, he also won five Serie A titles in a row and four Coppa Italia titles between 2014 and 2019.

Pirlo's exit from Juventus comes with managerial changes afoot at some of Europe's top clubs following the end of their seasons.

Zinedine Zidane stepped down at Real Madrid following a second spell in charge of the club on Thursday after the Spanish giants failed to win a trophy for the first time in 11 seasons.

Antonio Conte - who according to Sky in Italy is being considered as a candidate to replace Zidane at the Bernabeu - left Inter Milan by mutual consent just weeks after winning the Serie A title, with the club's ownership looking to cut costs which could mean that some key first-team players depart. Simeone Inzaghi is set to replace the former Chelsea boss at the San Siro.

At Bayern Munich, outgoing RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann is to take over the reins from Hansi Flick who will become the Germany national team's new manager following the departure of Joachim Low after the European Championships.

Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino is in talks with Tottenham over a sensational return after leaving the North London club in 2019.

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