Coach Massimiliano Allegri will leave Juventus at the end of the season after a reported fall-out with the club’s directors, the newly-crowned Serie A champions said in a surprise statement yesterday. “Massimiliano Allegri will not be on the Juventus bench for the 2019/2020 season,” Juve announced in a shock development.
Allegri, 51, had rejected reports saying he was about to be dismissed last Saturday adding he had already been making plans for next year over the past six months. He held meetings with the club’s hierarchy this the week during which a clear disagreement between the two parties emerged.
Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport claimed they fell out over a variety of subjects including Allegri’s desire for an increased salary and a differing vision of the side’s future. Juventus have already wrapped up their record eighth consecutive title, and Allegri’s fifth in as many years and he lifted the Coppa Italia on four occasions since replacing Antonio Conte in 2014.
The club’s former midfielder Antonio Conte along with France boss and ex-defender and coach Didier Deschamps, Champions League finalist Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham and Lazio’s Simone Inzaghi have been linked with taking over from Allegri in the Italian press in recent weeks.
Allegri’s departure from the Allianz Stadium will alert a host of big European outfits and his name shot up the bookmakers’ list of favourites to be the next permanent coach at Inter Milan and Chelsea. Despite signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid last summer the Bianconeri failed to make it past the quarter-finals of the European football’s top competition for the second successive season.
They were humiliated by modest-spending Ajax in the last eight in April despite a star-studded side including Ronaldo, Argentina’s Paulo Dybala and France World Cup winner Blaise Matuidi. Allegri guided Juve to two European finals losing to Barcelona in 2015 before being hammered by Real Madrid two years later.
The pressure to bring the much-desired trophy back to Turin for the first time since 1996 was also alleged to be part of the fall-out according to Gazzetta. Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey has already signed for the Italian club on a free transfer from Arsenal for next season.
Local press reported Allegri had been keen to sell the likes of Dybala, Brazil winger Douglas Costa and Portugal right-back Joao Cancelo in the upcoming summer transfer window.
Allegri will oversee his final game as Juventus coach at the club’s Allianz Stadium tomorrow against Atalanta. Juventus have one game left after Atalanta, against Sampdoria in Genoa on May 26. The final home game will be an occasion to celebrate another Serie A title and will be one they will be determined to win. Allegri’s team have been held in their last two outings since sealing the Scudetto on April 20.
And they are up against an Atalanta side who are hurting after their Coppa Italia final defeat, and still pushing for a first-ever Champions League qualification. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Lazio in Rome this week which ended their 12-match unbeaten run.
The club from Bergamo had eliminated holders Juventus in the quarter-finals, and were bidding for their first major honour since their Coppa triumph in 1963. Ronaldo has two games left to try to finish top scorer in his first season in Serie A as he is five behind Sampdoria’s Fabio Quagliarella.
The race for Europe is tight with two remaining Champions League berths up for grabs with two games left to play. Juventus and Napoli are already through with Inter Milan well-positioned for the third spot, which a win against Napoli this weekend would ensure.
Atalanta are fourth, one point behind Inter, and three ahead of AC Milan and Roma, with Torino’s hopes slim as they are five points adrift. Roma head to Sassuolo in turmoil after the news that captain Daniele De Rossi will leave after 18 years after the club decided not to renew his contract.
Coach Claudio Ranieri – also leaving at the end of the season – admitted that he would have handled the situation with the 35-year-old differently.
“Since De Rossi was our captain, a person in our history, perhaps his departure had to be handled differently so he could think it through better,” said Ranieri, who replaced sacked Euesbio Di Francesco last March.
“That opportunity wasn’t given to him, but that’s football. The club want to change, they want other players: and like how players choose different clubs, the clubs change too.”
De Rossi had made 615 appearances and scored 63 goals for Roma in all competitions, but had never lifted the Serie A title, despite two Coppa Italia trophies. AC Milan host relegated Frosinone, while Torino travel to Empoli, who are fighting the drop. Lazio, in eighth, host Bologna on Monday at the Stadio Olimpico after rescuing their season with a Coppa Italia victory.
Fixtures (all times GMT)
Today: Udinese v SPAL (1300), Genoa v Cagliari (1600), Sassuolo v AS Roma (1830)
Tomorrow: Chievo v Sampdoria (1030), Empoli v Torino, Juventus v Atalanta, Parma v Fiorentina (1300), AC Milan v Frosinone (1600), Napoli v Inter Milan (1830)
On Monday: Lazio v Bologna (1830)
Massimiliano Allegri won the league title in each of his five seasons with Juventus since taking charge in 2014. (AFP)