Juventus have pulled off a huge shock move and appointed their former midfielder Andrea Pirlo as first team manager.
The news comes on the same day the club parted ways with Maurizio Sarri, following Juventus’ Champions League exit at the hands of French side Lyon.
Juve had been heavily linked with both Zinedine Zidane and Mauricio Pochettino, though have opted to turn to Pirlo just nine days after appointing him as coach of the Under 23 side.
An official agreement between Juve and the 41-year-old to take the reins of the first team was quickly thrashed out and the club announced the appointment on Saturday evening.
It is said that Pirlo was chosen by the club president Andrea Agnelli, who he had a close working relationship with during his time as a Juve player – despite the fact he has never been first team manager before.
It is just over a week since Pirlo was officially unveiled as the club’s U23 coach, taking his first steps into coaching with a top tier club.
Now his progress will be rapidly accelerated and very much in the spotlight, with Pirlo set to take on one of the most high-pressure positions in European football.
Pirlo made over 100 appearances in the famous black and white stripes of Juventus, after signing for the club from AC Milan in 2011.
Renowned as one of the finest playmakers in football history, Pirlo departed Italy in 2015 when he left the club to finish his career in MLS with New York City.
Juve remain desperate to win the Champions League, after failing to lift the European Cup since the 1995/96 season when they defeated Ajax in the final.
They made the final again in 2015, when they were beaten by Barcelona in Pirlo’s final match for the club.
The Old Lady made another final in 2017, but were humiliated 4-1 by another Spanish foe in the form of Real Madrid.
Juve showed their ruthless side on Saturday morning, after the club relieved Sarri of his duties in the immediate aftermath of a latest Champions League failure.
Despite leading the Turin giants to a ninth straight Serie A title, supporters and the club’s hierarchy were left unimpressed by the veteran 61-year-old.
Club chairman Agnelli fronted up the decision to replace the man in the hot seat. It is understood long-standing servants Giorgio Chiellini and Gianlugi Buffon were informed about Sarri’s sacking first, and also given assurances over a potential successor.
The decision to bring an early end to Sarri’s reign may cost the club around £27million, should the tactician be unable to find a new role during the 24 months that were left on his deal.
It was decided during crisis talks held soon after Friday’s game that Sarri was no longer deemed the man capable of helping lead Juventus back to continental glory.