Following Juventus’ elimination from the Champions League on Friday night, club president Andrea Agnelli said he was going to evaluate things for a couple of days. It turned out to be a just a few hours. And when the hammer fell, it resulted in Juventus getting a new manager.
It didn’t take long for Agnelli to appoint a new manager, either. It helped that said new manager was already on the payroll and set to coach a Juventus team next season.
Shortly after just about every sports journalist in Italy reported that Andrea Pirlo was going be Maurizio Sarri’s replacement, the official announcement came down Saturday night. Pirlo, just days after becoming the club’s Under-23 manager, is now in charge of the first team, agreeing to a two-year contract through 2022. He replaces Sarri, who was sacked earlier in the day following Juve’s Champions League exit Friday night in Turin.
Clearly, the Juventus front office wanted to move fast and get somebody on the job so that there would be no lingering and prolonged negotiations heading into an offseason that really isn’t much of an offseason. Like many of people have said, you don’t fire the current coach unless you have something in place. And when there’s only a few hours between the coach that managed the night before getting sacked and the new manager getting hired, this might have been the plan all along if Sarri was going to get the axe.
The wheels were put in motion.
And Pirlo, less than two weeks after becoming the manager of the club’s Under-23 side, is now managing a club that has one of the biggest stars in the game as well as lofty Champions League aspirations regardless of what happened Friday night against Lyon.
Fact is, we don’t know what Pirlo will be like as a manager. We know he’s got a great mind, a great temperament and oozes the kind of class that you think of when considering a modern kind of manager with new ideas that he’s picked up along the way as a player. But that’s about it. All we know about Pirlo the manager is simply based off one press conference. That’s pretty much it. He hasn’t held a training session, hasn’t managed a game — hell, even a friendly — and now he’s in charge of one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Juventus are going for broke again. The goal is to obviously have this be Juventus’ version fo Real Madrid hiring Zinedine Zidane. But even then, Zidane had experience coaching Real Madrid’s youth squad. Pirlo doesn’t have any managerial experience at all.
This is certainly one of Agnelli’s biggest rolls out the dice — if not THE biggest — since he took over as club president. We’re all waiting to see how this turns out.
Let’s hope that Pirlo’s surprising managerial arrival at Juventus goes as well as when he moved to the club on a free transfer during the summer of 2011.