Juventus have confirmed the return of Massimiliano Allegri to their managerial hot seat, with the path cleared for him to arrive by the departure of Andrea Pirlo after just one season in charge of the Turin giants.
BBC learned on Thursday that a familiar face – one that previously guided the club to five Serie A titles – was being lined up for a second stint at the helm.
Pirlo had experienced a baptism of fire in management and the top-four finish he secured, along with Coppa Italia glory, has not been enough to keep him in a post that will now see Juve turning the clock back.
A statement on Juve’s official website read: “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.
“What he achieved in his first adventure at Juventus are engraved in the club’s history: five Scudetti, four-consecutive doubles, coupled with the Coppa Italia and to the two Super Cups, reaching two Champions League finals in just three seasons, in what were epic feats both in Italy and in Europe.
“We said goodbye two years ago with the message, ‘History Alone’, the message on the back of the shirt given to Massimiliano Allegri by president Andrea Agnelli with an embrace and a shirt, on which in just two words encapsulated Allegri’s experience at Juve.
“The beauty of the story, however, is that it never stops. In football, this means a concept that we have ingrained in our DNA: the best victory is the next one. Always.
“Now we are ready to begin again with Allegri, to build our future together; with his enormous professionalism, his moral strength, with the brilliant ideas of a coach capable of shuffling the cards, both on and off the pitch.
“With his smile, a sort of ‘signature’. With his way of understanding football and life with simplicity, with his desire to play things down and with the commitment to enjoy every beautiful moment that being at Juventus can give and will give.”
The Bianconeri had previously said when parting with Pirlo: “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.
“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. 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.”
He wrote in an Instagram post: “My first season as a manager has ended. It has been an intense, complicated but in any case wonderful year.
“When I was called by Juventus I never thought about the risk I was running, although it was quite evident. Respect for the colors of this shirt and the desire to get involved at the highest levels for the project that was proposed to me prevailed.
“If I had to go back I would make exactly the same choice, although aware of all the obstacles I encountered in such a difficult period for everyone, which prevented me from planning my intentions and my style of play in the best possible way, but during which I have achieved the objectives that were asked of me.
“This adventure, despite an ending that I did not expect, made it even clearer what I would like my future to be, which I hope is as complete and full of satisfactions as what I experienced as a footballer. It’s time to get back in the game and face new challenges.
However, I want to thank the Juventus family and all those who have been close to me this season.”
Pirlo was unable to keep the Bianconeri’s high standards, with Inter breaking their stranglehold on the Serie A crown.
An early exit was also suffered in the Champions League, with Cristiano Ronaldo and co unable to inspire Juve to continental glory.
Pirlo oversaw 52 games at the helm, collecting 34 wins and suffering eight defeats.