JUVENTUS FIRES SARRI AFTER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE EXIT

Juventus sacked coach Maurizio Sarri on Saturday after the Italian club’s Champions League last 16 exit to Lyon.

Despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s double in a 2-1 home win on Friday, Juve fell 2-2 on aggregate to the French club, ending their quest for a title they last won in 1996.

“Maurizio Sarri has been relieved of his post as coach of the first team,” the nine-time reigning Serie A champions said in a statement.

Sarri, 61, had replaced Massimiliano Allegri last summer, after leading Chelsea to success in the Europa League.

“The club would like to thank the coach for having written a new page in Juventus’ history with the victory of the ninth-consecutive championship, the culmination of a personal journey that led him to climb all the divisions of Italian football,” the team said.

The ‘Scudetto’ was the first league title for Sarri in his 30-year coaching career, extending a record run in Turin which Antonio Conte started with three titles from 2012 and Allegri continued with the following five.

But the former Napoli boss paid for the club’s failure on the European stage.

“Sarri Out!” headlined Turin sports daily Tuttosport, with Corriere Dello Sport saying: “Adieu Maurizio.”

Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi, Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane and former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino have been touted as possible successors.

Club president Andrea Agnelli’s words were not reassuring after Juve fell in the last 16 for the first time since 2016.

“We need a cold and lucid analysis,” said Agnelli, “knowing that in a few weeks we will start from scratch and we will have to do it with the same enthusiasm and desire to win.

“The Champions League, it was a dream before, now it’s a goal and going out like this is disappointing for us, for the players and for the fans.”

Sarri failed to produce the style revolution hoped for in a season overshadowed by a three-month coronavirus lockdown.

Juve were rarely brilliant and often disappointing, losing in two finals, the Italian Cup and the Italian Super Cup.

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