Juventus have named Andrea Pirlo as their new head coach on a two-year contract, just hours after sacking Maurizio Sarri.
Pirlo was only named the club’s Under-23 head coach last month, but has secured a major promotion before even taking charge of one match with the Serie C outfit.
It will be a major challenge for the 41-year-old who has never managed before, either at youth or senior level.
“Today’s choice is based on the belief that Pirlo has what it takes to lead from his debut on the bench, an expert and talented squad to pursue new successes,” a statement from Juventus read.
Pirlo returns to Juve having starred for the club between 2011 and 2015. The midfielder helped lead the Bianconeri to four straight Serie A titles, as well as the final of the 2014–15 Champions League.
Internationally, Pirlo represented Italy on 116 occasions and was a member of his country’s victorious 2006 World Cup team.
His playing career ended in 2017 after a three-year spell at MLS side New York City FC, after which he began preparing for a career in coaching.
Pirlo will take over a team that has won nine consecutive Serie A titles, but has continued to fall short in the Champions League.
Sarri was sacked after just one season despite winning the Scudetto at the first time of asking. Juventus were shockingly eliminated by Lyon in the Champions League last 16 on Friday, as a 2-1 victory over the Ligue 1 side was not enough to avoid an exit on away goals in a 2-2 aggregate final score.
Following a meeting of Juve’s hierarchy on Saturday, the decision was taken to swiftly replace the 61-year-old former Chelsea and Napoli manager.
Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, along with former Juventus managers Massimiliano Allegri and Antonio Conte were quickly linked with the job but the Bianconeri have instead opted to take a risk on Pirlo, a coaching novice.
Pirlo will have high expectations to meet, with it now established that success in Europe is the principal goal for Juventus. The club’s last Champions League win came in 1995-96 and Pirlo will be expected to help end a drought that has now reached 24 years.
The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018 was expected to help end the club’s wait for European glory, but the Portugal superstar has only managed to lead Juventus to a quarter-final exit at the hands of Ajax last term before this season’s stunning round-of-16 elimination at the hands of Lyon.