Serie A champions Juventus stunned Italian football on Saturday by naming World Cup-winning midfielder Andrea Pirlo as manager on a two-year contract even though their former player has no previous experience in the role.
Pirlo, 41, was promoted to the senior job one week after being named coach of Juve’s under-23 side, who play in the Italian third tier, and without having taken charge of a match.
The decision came hours after the Turin club sacked coach Maurizio Sarri following their Champions League last-16 exit to Olympique Lyonnais on away goals on Friday.
Former Chelsea manager Sarri had been in charge for one season and led Juve to a ninth successive Serie A title but still fell well short of the enormous expectations at the club, who have set their hearts on winning the Champions League.
The presence of five-times World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo in attack has increased expectations.
“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,” Juve said in a statement here
“Today begins a new chapter of his career in the world of football, as it was said almost a week ago: from Maestro to Mister,” it added.
Juventus may be hoping Pirlo can replicate the achievements of Zinedine Zidane, another former world class player who has enjoyed success at Real Madrid despite having no previous coaching experience.
Ex-Juve player Zidane has won two La Liga and three Champions League titles in two stints with the Spanish side since he was first handed the reins.