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Andrea Pirlo to make managerial debut when Juve host Sampdoria

It’s a tough start to begin Il Maestro’s managerial career.

Juventus v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

We are about to learn a lot about Andrea Pirlo’s vision of Juventus right away.

Not simply because we will actually see him coach a game for the first time in his managerial career later this month. But, after the Serie A schedule was — interestingly (?) and virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic — released Wednesday, it’s also because of who Pirlo will see his team facing right out of the gate.

Pirlo will officially start has managerial career against Sampdoria, beginning the 2020-21 season at Allianz Stadium on Sept. 20. The first big challenge, a lot like Maurizio Sarri last season, comes in Week 2, with Juventus traveling to the Italian capital and a venue Pirlo knows awfully well during his playing days to face Roma. The very next game sees Pirlo face one of his old Milan teammates who is also now in the coaching game, as Juve face Napoli in Turin.

That’s quite the big start for Pirlo, who replaced Sarri after everybody’s favorite former regista took over for the cigarette-happy tactician last month.

Other big games in the first half of the season include: at Lazio in Week 7; Juventus hosting Torino and Atalanta in Week 10 and Week 12, respectively; Juventus going to the San Siro in Week 16 to face Milan and Inter coming to Turin in Week 18.

With how that plays out, the return fixture of Juventus and Inter, which will be in Milan, will be played in the penultimate round of the 2020-21 season. That could be a Scudetto decider for one of those two clubs. Or maybe for both of them. Or, knowing how Pirlo is a complete unknown as a manager and Antonio Conte’s Inter finished the 2019-20 season very unimpressively, maybe it will be neither of them.

(Just as a side note: With Serie A doing this virtually and not having the grand unveiling like in previous seasons, this was a pre-produced video montage of sorts. The problem with it was that they did it completely out of order. It wasn’t going from Week 1 to Week 19 and then that’s that. The first match announced was Juve-Inter ... in Week 18. It was all out of order from there. And it was very difficult to both live tweet on the BWRAO feed and, honestly, keep track of by simply writing things down.)

Below is the full league-wide fixture list. Click on the tweet itself for a larger version of the attached picture.