Ibrahimovic Rescues Point For AC Milan As Juve, Inter Also Held

AC Milan’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic gestures during the UEFA Europa League first round day three Group H football match between AC Milan and Lille (LOSC) at the Meazza stadium in Milan on November 5, 2020.
MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty before scoring a late equaliser as Serie A leaders AC Milan salvaged a point in a 2-2 Serie A draw against Hellas Verona on Sunday to let rivals Juventus and Inter Milan off the hook after both were held 1-1 in earlier games.

“I’ll let Franck Kessie take the next one, that would be better,” said Ibrahimovic, who has now missed four of the last six penalties he has taken for AC Milan.

Stefano Pioli’s side are top of Serie A with a two-point advantage on second-placed Sassuolo, who were held to a goalless draw against Udinese on Friday.

Champions Juventus drop to fifth, four points behind the leaders after Lazio’s Felipe Caicedo scored five minutes into injury time to cancel out Cristiano Ronaldo’s first-half goal.

Inter Milan and Atalanta also shared the spoils in Bergamo after Aleksey Miranchuk scored on his first Serie A start for the hosts to cancel out Lautaro Martinez’s header.

Milan had the chance to pull four points clear at the top of the table in the final match before the international break.

But the leaders were two goals down in the San Siro after Antonin Barak opened the scoring in the sixth minute and Milan defender Davide Calabria bundled into his own goal quarter of an hour later.

Ibrahimovic had a chance for the equaliser after 66 minutes, after Verona defender Giangiacomo Magnani’s own goal had reduced the deficit for the hosts.

But the 39-year-old embarrassingly fired over the crossbar before redeeming himself deep into injury time by heading in his eighth league goal this season.

“With so many matches you are not always 100 percent,” said the veteran Swedish striker.

“It was important not to lose. Thank goodness there is a break now, so I rest a little.”

Milan avoided a first league defeat after their 24-match unbeaten run was ended with a Europa League loss to Lille during the week.

Napoli move third after a Victor Osimhen header sealed a 1-0 win over Bologna.

Roma are equal on points with Napoli, both one point ahead of Juventus, after a Henrikh Mkhitaryan hat-trick delivered a 3-1 win at Genoa.

 

 

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo controls the ball during the Italian Serie A football match between Lazio (SSL) and Juventus (JFC) , at the Olympic stadium in Rome on November 8, 2020.
Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

– Ronaldo ‘crucial’ for Juve –

Earlier Juventus once again demonstrated how dependent they are on Portuguese star Ronaldo, letting three points slip after he limped off with an ankle injury with 15 minutes to go.

“Ronaldo is a crucial player,” said Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo.

The 35-year-old had scored his sixth goal in four games and had further chances for a second, rattling the post before Pepe Reina tipped a free-kick over the bar.

Caicedo, who came on early in the second half, once again had the final word.

He picked up a Correa cross and swivelled to fire in the equaliser as Juventus drew for the fourth time in seven league games.

Caicedo also scored in the midweek 1-1 Champions League draw at Zenit Saint-Petersburg and the winner in last weekend’s 4-3 victory at Torino.

“We played like Juventus for 93 minutes and 45 seconds, but then we conceded a goal because we eased off,” said defender Leonardo Bonucci who played his 400th game for Juventus.

Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio, embroiled in coronavirus chaos with star striker Ciro Immobile back in isolation after playing last weekend, are ninth, six points off the leaders.

“This team has heart, difficulties are part of our DNA,” said Inzaghi.

The Roman club are being investigated by the Italian football federation for possible Covid violations after UEFA blocked some players from Champions League games at Club Brugge and Zenit after testing positive.

– Inter lack ‘killer instinct’ –

Both Inter and Atalanta missed the chance to close the gap on the leaders days after Champions League defeats to Real Madrid and Liverpool respectively.

Former Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Miranchuk came off the bench just before the hour and scored 19 minutes later in his first game for the home side.

Romelu Lukaku returned from a thigh strain, playing the final quarter of an hour, but could not find a winner for Inter.

“We’re lacking a bit of the killer instinct to take home games,” said coach Antonio Conte, whose side are seventh just behind Atalanta.

-AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo Tests Negative For COVID-19

File photo of Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo.         Credit: Tiziana FABI / AFP

 

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has tested negative for coronavirus after nearly three weeks, the club confirmed on Friday.

Ronaldo first tested positive for COVID-19 on October 13 while playing with Portugal. He had been in self-isolation since returning to Italy.

“Ronaldo carried out a check with a diagnostic test (swab) for COVID-19. The exam provided a negative result,” the Italian champions said in a statement.

“The player has, therefore, recovered after 19 days and is no longer subjected to home isolation.”

Juventus next play at promoted Spezia on Sunday, with all matches now behind closed doors following a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, with a record number of over 31,000 people testing positive in a 24-hour period in Italy on Friday.

The 35-year-old had missed four games including Wednesday’s 2-0 Champions League defeat to Lionel Messi’s Barcelona, and Juventus’s 2-0 win at Dynamo Kiev in their Group G opener.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s return will be a boost for Andrea Pirlo’s faltering side who are fifth in Serie A, four points behind leaders AC Milan.

Ronaldo scored three goals in Juventus’s first two league games — a 3-0 win over Sampdoria and both goals in a 2-2 draw at Rome.

But the nine-time reigning champions have been held to three consecutive league draws, Rome (2-2), Crotone (1-1) and Verona (1-1).

They were awarded a 3-0 victory after Napoli refused to travel to Turin on October 4 because of coronavirus cases.

Ronaldo, the top scorer in Champions League history with 130 goals, was furious at missing this week’s game against Barcelona, after reportedly testing positive for the 18th time.

They have not faced off since the five-time Ballon d’Or winner left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018.

Hours before kick-off, Ronaldo posted a photo on Instagram, stating: “Feeling good and healthy! Forza Juve! #finoallafine.”

Adding a comment for his 241 million Instagram followers on the swab tests used to detect the virus, he said: “PCR IS BULLSHIT.”

He later removed that post.

AFP

Ronaldo Still Positive For Coronavirus Before Barcelona Game

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo looks on during the Italian Serie A football match between Udinese and Juventus on July 23, 2020, at the Dacia Arena Stadium in Udine. AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive again for coronavirus on the eve of Juventus’s  Champions League clash against his great rival Lionel Messi’s Barcelona, according to media reports in Italy and Portugal.

Portuguese TVI reported that Ronaldo “has once against tested positive for Covid-19” following a swab carried out by Juventus.

The 35-year-old is now awaiting the result of a UEFA test which, if also positive, would rule him out of the Group G game in Turin.

Ronaldo first tested positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago while playing with Portugal, and has been in self-isolation since returning to Italy.

According to TV1, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has tested positive 18 times.

Ronaldo needed to return a negative test, 24 hours before the game to be allowed to play, according to UEFA rules.

Juventus only confirm if a player has recovered, with Sky Sport Italia and Gazzetta Dello Sport reporting that Ronaldo will miss the Barcelona game.

“Ronaldo had a test like everyone else, this evening (Tuesday) we will have the definitive result,” coach Andrea Pirlo told a press conference earlier Tuesday.

“For now it’s all on the high seas, when the final result comes everything will be clearer.

“Depending on the result, we’ll see what we do. It’s not easy to play an entire game after 15 days of inactivity.”

Ronaldo, who has no symptoms, has missed three games including his side’s 2-0 Champions League win at Dynamo Kiev last week.

The clash would be the first between Ronaldo and Messi since the Portugal forward left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018.

“For 15 years, Messi and Ronaldo have done great things,” said former Italy and Juventus midfielder Pirlo.

“For the first time, I’ll be taking on Messi as a coach, I’ll treat him with the enormous respect that he deserves.”

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman added: “We always want the best to be on the pitch, and Ronaldo is a great player.

“I don’t know if he will be in condition to play, that’s not my problem. But if Ronaldo is there, it is one more reason for us to be ready.”

Koeman, like Pirlo, has taken over as coach this season, with the teams top of Group G after winning their opening fixtures.

But the Dutch manager has been under pressure after a 3-1 defeat against Real Madrid at the weekend followed a 1-0 loss to Getafe, the first time in four years the Catalan giants have suffered consecutive defeats in the league.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu also resigned on Tuesday along with his board of directors, following mounting pressure from fans and his public falling out with Messi.

 ‘Not a decisive game’ 

Ronaldo and Messi now look set to meet again in the reverse fixture at the Nou Camp on December 8.

Messi, 33, has featured in four victorious campaigns for Barcelona, while Ronaldo has won the Champions League five times, four with Real Madrid and once with Manchester United.

Messi has six Ballon d’Or titles with Ronaldo claiming five.

However Ronaldo has 130 Champions League goals to Messi’s 116.

“It’s clear that any team would miss a player like Cristiano,” said Brazil defender Danilo at the pre-match press conference.

“But we have faith in every player on the team. We have people who want to do well and help us have a great match.”

Messi has won 16 of their 35 encounters to Ronaldo’s 10, with the remaining nine ending in draws.

The pair have only met five times in Champions League games, most recently in the semi-final in 2011.

Pirlo also has defensive worries with captain Giorgio Chiellini, and Matthijs De Ligt out but fellow centreback Leonardo Bonucci’s thigh strain will be evaluated on Wednesday morning.

“These are the matches that everyone would like to play. We have this opportunity and we can’t wait to test ourselves against Barcelona,” said Pirlo.

“It’s not a decisive game, but we still want to see what our value is.”

Argentina forward Paulo Dybala remains “a bit tired” after playing for 90 minutes in his first match in over three months last Sunday against Verona.

“It’s normal after the first game as a starter. He’ll have time to recover and play tomorrow night.”

AFP

Ronaldo, Juve Internationals Reported For Breaking Coronavirus Isolation

Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and Sampdoria played behind closed doors at the Allianz Stadium in Turin on July 26, 2020. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP
Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and Sampdoria played behind closed doors at the Allianz Stadium in Turin on July 26, 2020.
MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo and other top Juventus players could face legal action for rejoining their national teams despite coronavirus rules after two positive cases at the Italian champions, local health authorities in Turin said on Wednesday.

As well as the Portuguese star, several South Americans including Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Danilo and Rodrigo Bentancur also left the Juventus team hotel before the isolation ended on Wednesday evening.

“The club itself told us that some players had left the place of isolation and therefore we will notify the competent authority, that is the prosecutor, of what happened,” said Roberto Testi, a director of the health authority in the Piedmont region, quoted by the Ansa news agency.

“All my tests were negative. It was a personal choice,” said midfielder Danilo from the Brazil training camp at Teresopolis, near Rio de Janeiro.

“For me it’s an honour to play for the national side. As soon as my tests were negative and I felt safe, I didn’t hesitate.

“There have been a lot of questions, we have to discuss it again when I return to Italy.”

Both virus cases at the club were among the team’s non-playing staff.

The entire Juventus team and staff had been isolating from Saturday, a procedure that did not prevent them from training or playing, but prohibits contact with the outside.

Players were finally allowed to leave the hotel on Wednesday evening “following checks provided for by the health protocol with the obligation to continue the isolation at home,” Juventus said.

“Players and staff will be able to go to the training centre for normal activities,” the team added.

Several other internationals called up are now clear to join their national sides, including France’s Adrien Rabiot, Italians Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, Wales’ Aaron Ramsey and Poland’s Wojciech Szczesny.

Italian football has been hit by multiple coronavirus cases in the past week after a cluster of 22 in Genoa whose Serie A match against Torino was postponed to November 4.

Napoli failed to turn up for their match against Juventus on Sunday night on the instructions of local health authorities after two positive cases, and could forfeit the game 3-0.

Two Italy Under-21 players tested positive midweek sending the team into isolation before their European Championship qualifier against Iceland on Friday.

 

 

-AFP

Pirlo Vs Gattuso: Old Team Mates Face Off As Napoli Tackle Juventus

File Photo: Gattuso-Pirlo

 

In a highly-anticipated first clash between two former stars of Italy and AC Milan now chasing coaching glory, Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli test their ‘Scudetto’ ambitions at Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus on Sunday.

Both won the 2006 World Cup for Italy and spent a decade as AC Milan teammates, winning two Serie A titles and two Champions League crowns together.

It is a clash which Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte can’t wait to see.

“Juve v Napoli? I’ll enjoy watching it,” said Conte, who coached Pirlo as a player to the first three of Juventus’s current run of nine Serie A titles.

“Napoli are underestimated a lot,” continued Conte.

“They are an excellent team, they are among the favourites for the Scudetto.

“They have a staff and a very good coach who will make life difficult for everyone.”

Gattuso begins his second season on the Napoli bench having taken over from Carlo Ancelotti last December. The club finished seventh but qualified for the Europa League after winning the Italian Cup, their first trophy in six years.

Former Glasgow Rangers defensive midfielder Gattuso has been coaching since he hung up his boots in 2013, with the bulk of his footballing career spent at AC Milan.

He had stints at Sion, Palermo, Crete and Pisa before returning to Milan where he trained the youth team before coaching the first-team for 18 months.

The 42-year-old left Milan after the team missed the Champions League by just one point.

By contrast, Pirlo, 41, had no coaching experience before taking over from Maurizio Sarri, receiving his coaching diploma days before the season kicked off.

“Well he’s stuck now! That’s the job,” quipped Gattuso on hearing Pirlo’s appointment.

“He’s lucky to be starting at Juventus, but this profession is one where a great playing career is not enough. You have to study, to work hard, and you don’t get much sleep.”

– Coronavirus tests –

This season Gattuso has the ambitious task of winning a first Serie A title since the days of Napoli legend Diego Maradona in 1990.

Pirlo is counting on extending Juventus’s winning streak to 10 consecutive Serie A titles.

Napoli are top of the Italian league table after two games with a win over Parma, and a 6-0 hammering of Genoa last time out.

Pirlo’s Juventus is a team “under construction”. They were held 2-2 by Roma last weekend.

As Napoli sit equal on maximum points with Inter Milan, Atalanta, Hellas Verona and AC Milan, Juve have four points.

Napoli are awaiting the results of a second round of coronavirus tests as last week’s opponents Genoa had 16 positive tests this week, including 12 players.

Genoa’s game against Torino on Saturday has been postponed.

A first round of swabs at Napoli came back negative, with the results of the second series of tests expected on Friday.

Inter, who have scored nine goals in their first two matches, take on a Lazio hurting after their 4-1 defeat to Atalanta in the Stadio Olimpico.

“Inter have been considered an outsider for many years, now we have acquired credibility,” said Conte of last season’s runenrs-up.

High-scoring Atalanta next host Cagliari with Hellas Verona looking for a third consecutive win at Parma.

Roma head for Udinese looking for their first win, with the north-easterners reeling after losing to promoted La Spezia, who next challenge AC Milan.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Friday

Fiorentina v Sampdoria (1845)

Saturday

Sassuolo v Crotone (1300), Udinese v Roma (1845)

Postponed: Genoa v Torino

Sunday

Atalanta v Cagliari (1030), Benevento v Bologna, Lazio v Inter Milan, Parma v Verona (all 1300), AC Milan v Spezia (1600), Juventus v Napoli (1845)

-AFP

Spanish Striker Morata Returns To Juventus From Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid's Spanish forward Alvaro Morata (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a second goal during the Spanish League football match between Atletico Madrid and Mallorca at the Wanda Metropolitan stadium in Madrid on July 3, 2020. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP
File photo: Atletico Madrid’s Spanish forward Alvaro Morata (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a second goal during the Spanish League football match between Atletico Madrid and Mallorca at the Wanda Metropolitan stadium in Madrid on July 3, 2020.
PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP

 

Spanish striker Alvaro Morata on Tuesday returned to Juventus on loan from Atletico Madrid, the Turin club announced.

The much-travelled Morata, who is 27, played for Juventus from 2014-2016, scoring 27 goals in 93 appearances.

He graduated through the youth system at Real Madrid and had two stints at the club either side of his first spell at Juventus. He also had a spell at Chelsea before joining Atletico, initially on loan

He has joined Juventus on a season-long loan, which will cost 10 million euros (11.7 million dollars), the club said.

“He will be part of this year’s team, with an option for a one-year extension to the loan, plus an option to buy,” said Juventus on their web site, adding that the transfer fee would be 45 million euros, in three annual payments of 15 million euros, while a loan extension would cost 10 million euros at the end of which Juventus would have another option to buy, for 35 million euros.

“There’s nothing more exciting than a homecoming and the return of Alvaro Morata to Turin is a beautiful one at that!” said Juventus.

After Gonzalo Higuain left for Miami last week, Juve’s new coach, Andrea Pirlo, needed a solid centre-forward. The club was linked to Barcelona’s Luis Suarez and Roma’s Edin Dzeko but Morata, who played with Pirlo in his first spell at club, has arrived instead.

Spanish media immediately speculated that Morata’s departure could clear the way for Atletico to recruit Suarez.

Morata scored in both legs in the 2015 Champions League semi-finals as Juventus beat one of his former clubs, Real Madrid, 3-2 on aggregate.

He then scored a second-half equaliser in the final before goals by Suarez and Neymar gave Barcelona a 3-1 victory.

His last goal for Juventus was the winner in the 2016 Copa Italia final against AC Milan, when he came off the bench 18 minutes into extra time and scored two minutes later.

“Even though Alvaro left the club four years ago, after having won five trophies in two years: two Scudetti, two Italian Cups, one Italian Super Cup, he has always remained Bianconero in his heart and his return will be as though he never even said goodbye.

“Because Alvaro is one of us,” said Juventus.

AFP

Higuain Moves To MLS After Juve Terminate Contract

File photo: Juventus’ forward from Argentina Gonzalo Higuain reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group D football match Juventus Barcelona on November 22, 2017 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

Juventus have terminated the contract of striker Gonzalo Higuain with the Argentine joining Inter Miami in the US Major League Soccer on Friday. 

The 32-year-old joins former Juventus teammate Blaise Matuidi at the Florida team after leaving the Serie A champion and will play in the same league as his older brother Federico, who is now with D.C. United.

 

“Individually, my goal is to demonstrate that I can contribute and continue playing great football here,” Argentine Higuain said. “I hope I can achieve that because I have all the tools necessary to succeed.”

Higuain moved to Juventus for 90 million euros (today $106.5 million) from Napoli in 2016, but after two solid seasons fell out of favor and spent the 2018-19 campaign on loan first at AC Milan and then Chelsea before rejoining Juve last summer.

New Juve coach Andrea Pirlo has said that Higuain, who played in three World Cups for Argentina and scored 31 goals in 75 international appearances, was not part of the club’s plans.

He leaves having helped Juve to win three Serie A titles, including their most recent triumph last season.

“I want to thank Inter Miami for the effort it has made to sign me,” added Higuain. “I think it will be a beautiful experience in my life.

“It’s what I was looking for — a new experience, a new league and a beautiful city. I’m really happy to be here and that it’s official.

“My goal is to try to transmit all the experience I acquired in Europe and to help the team grow.”

Anything would help the Miami, who are bottom of the overall table with two wins and two drawn in 11 matches. They have managed only nine goals and their 0-5 start was the worst for any first-year MLS club.

Higuain’s Inter Miami debut is expected on September 23 when the New York Red Bulls visit South Florida.

“We are pleased to close a deal with Gonzalo and add an experienced and successful goalscorer, who has excelled in the world’s best teams and leagues,” Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough said.

“Our goal is to not only bring elite players to Inter Miami, but also good people that share our ambition and aspiration of making history in North American futbol, and we’re confident we have found that in Gonzalo.”

AFP

World Cup Winner Matuidi Leaves Juventus

(FILES) French world champion Blaise Matuidi on August 12, 2020 ended his contract with Juventus Turin by mutual agreement. (Photo by Isabella BONOTTO / AFP)

 

 

France’s World Cup-winning midfielder Blaise Matuidi is leaving Juventus by mutual consent after three years, the Italian champions announced on Wednesday.

Matuidi, 33, joined the Turin giants from Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 and had one year left on his contract.

It is reported he is set to move to the United States to join David Beckham’s Major League Soccer club Inter Miami.

“Blaise Matuidi and Juventus say goodbye with the consensual termination of the player’s contract,” Juventus said in a statement.

“With our colours on his back, he fought and played his heart out in every single game; placing constant pressure on the opponents, tearing apart the run of play and ever so eloquently relaunching the ball into action.”

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 07, 2019 Juventus’ French midfielder Blaise Matuidi eyes the ball during the Italian Serie A football match lazio Rome vs Juventus Turin on December 7, 2019 at the Olympic stadium in Rome. – French world champion Blaise Matuidi on August 12, 2020 ended his contract with Juventus Turin by mutual agreement. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

 

Matudi, who played in the 2018 World Cup final when France beat Croatia 4-2, won three Serie A titles, one Italian Cup and the Italian Super Cup at Juventus.

He also won four Ligue 1 titles during six years at PSG, having previously played for French clubs Troyes and Saint Etienne.

Matuidi played 98 games for Juventus in Serie A and 133 times in all competitions, second only to Argentine forward Paulo Dybala (134).

He helped Juventus win a ninth Serie A title in a row this season.

But the club’s failure to advance past the Champions League last 16 led to the sacking of coach Maurizio Sarri after a single season. He has been replaced by former Juventus and Italy star Andrea Pirlo.

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 21, 2019 Juventus’ French midfielder Blaise Matuidi controls the ball during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Verona on September 21, 2019 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. – French world champion Blaise Matuidi on August 12, 2020 ended his contract with Juventus Turin by mutual agreement. (Photo by Isabella BONOTTO / AFP)

 

“To have been a member of the Juventus family is a dream come true, an honour,” Matuidi wrote on Instagram.

“I discovered an incredible institution, teammates who have become more than that.

“I will always remain your number 1 fan, or rather number 14. Thank you Juventus, a very real thank you.”

 

 

-AFP

Andrea Pirlo Named As New Juventus Coach

In this file photo taken on August 20, 2014 Juventus A' Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo looks on during a friendly football match between Juventus A and Juventus B in Villar Perosa near Turin. Andrea Pirlo was named as new Juventus coach - club on August 8, 2020. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP
In this file photo taken on August 20, 2014 Juventus A’ Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo looks on during a friendly football match between Juventus A and Juventus B in Villar Perosa near Turin. Andrea Pirlo was named as new Juventus coach – club on August 8, 2020. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Former Italy and Juventus star Andrea Pirlo was Saturday named as the Italian champions’ new coach, just hours after Maurizio Sarri’s sacking.

Sarri, 61, leaves Juventus after just one season, a day after the Turin giants crashed out of the Champions League in the last 16 to French club Lyon.

The 41-year-old Pirlo, who has no previous top-level coaching experience, has signed a two-year contract until June 2022.

He had recently been appointed coach of the Juventus U23 side, who play in the third division.

“Pirlo has had a legendary career as a player, winning everything from the Champions League to the World Cup in 2006,” Juventus said.

“In his four years at the centre of the Juventus midfield, Pirlo won as many league titles, a Coppa Italia and two Italian Super Cups.

“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.

“From today he will be THE coach for everyone at Juventus, as the club has decided to entrust him with the technical leadership of the first team, after having already selected him for Juventus Under 23.

“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.”

Pirlo began his playing career at his hometown team Brescia in 1995 and went on to play for Inter, AC Milan and Juve from 2011 before moving in 2015 for two seasons with New York City FC in the MLS.

During his four seasons with Juventus he won Serie A four times and one Italian Cup.

Capped 116 times for Italy, Pirlo was a key figure in the team that won the 2006 World Cup.

He also won two Champions Leagues and two league titles with Milan during his 22-year playing career.

 

AFP

Sarri Sacked After Juventus’s Champions League Exit

Juventus sacked it’s Italian coach Maurizio Sarri on August 8, 2020, a day after the defeat of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League round of 16-second leg football match against Olympique Lyonnais (OL). (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP)

 

 

Juventus sacked coach Maurizio Sarri on Saturday after the Italian club’s Champions League last 16 exit to Lyon.

Despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s double in a 2-1 home win on Friday, Juve fell 2-2 on aggregate to the French club, ending their quest for a title they last won in 1996.

 

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo kicks the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between Juventus and Olympique Lyonnais (OL) (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

 

“Maurizio Sarri has been relieved of his post as coach of the first team,” the nine-time reigning Serie A champions said in a statement.

Sarri, 61, replaced Massimiliano Allegri last season, after leading Chelsea to success in the Europa League.

“The club would like to thank the coach for having written a new page in Juventus’ history with the victory of the ninth-consecutive championship, the culmination of a personal journey that led him to climb all the divisions of Italian football,” the team.

 

Juventus’ Italian head coach Maurizio Sarri holds the Champion’s trophy at the end of the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Roma on August 1, 2020 at the Allianz stadium in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Isabella BONOTTO / AFP)

 

Despite leading Juve to a ninth straight Scudetto, his first as a coach, Sarri paid for the club’s failure on the European stage.

Juve also lost in two finals this season, the Italian Cup and the Italian Super Cup.

 

 

 

 

-AFP

Ronaldo Not Enough For ‘Cursed’ Juventus

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo kicks the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between Juventus and Olympique Lyonnais (OL), played behind closed doors due to the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus, at the Juventus stadium, in Turin , on August 7, 2020. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

 

 

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri said he was “bitter” as the Italian giants crashed out of the Champions League on Friday to Lyon despite a Cristiano Ronaldo double giving the hosts a 2-1 win over the French club on the night.

Captain Memphis Depay’s 12th-minute penalty, however, sealed Lyon’s berth in the quarter-finals with a 2-2 aggregate score to go through on away goals.

A goal up after winning February’s first leg, Lyon will face Manchester City at the final tournament in Lisbon.

“I am very bitter, I understand how much this competition is cursed for Juve,” said Sarri, who took over as coach last summer.

The Turin side have won the tournament twice, but not since 1996.

They have been runners-up seven times, including twice in the last five years.

Sarri’s side were coming off a tough battle to win a ninth consecutive league title in Italy, against an opponent who were fresh after Ligue 1 was cancelled five months ago because of coronavirus.

“The regret is to have missed the first half in Lyon. At this level it costs,” continued Sarri of the first leg played back in February.

“They had a much more logical preparation than ours.

“I’m going home sad because we are beaten, but tonight we had a good game.

“We were immediately behind with a penalty which for me is crazy, much more than questionable.

“But they gave everything and fought to the end. Juve had a good game and Lyon suffered a lot.”

“If I weren’t devastated by the elimination, I would be happy with tonight’s performance, because we brought out so much energy and the team responded with character and showed that they have recovered in the last few days.”

Depay’s penalty put Rudi Garcia’s side two goals ahead in the tie and left Juve with a mountain to climb.

Needing to score three unanswered goals in order to go through, Ronaldo tried his best to drag the Italian champions over the line.

He levelled the scores on the night with a penalty of his own with two minutes left in the opening period before crashing a second home on the hour mark.

Lyon managed to hold on to set up a clash with Pep Guardiola’s City, who put out 13-time winners Real Madrid, on August 15.

“Ronaldo is a pillar of Juventus,” said Juventus president Andrea Agnelli.

“In the Champions League, it’s disappointing because we had a dream.

“We will take a few days to evaluate the season.”

 

 

-AFP

 

Lyon Hold Off Juventus To Reach Champions League Quarter-Finals

 

Lyon qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Friday despite losing 2-1 to Juventus in Turin.

A goal up after winning February’s first leg, French side Lyon will face Manchester City at the final tournament in Lisbon after drawing 2-2 on aggregate and going through on away goals.

Lyon squeezed past the Italian champions thanks to Memphis Depay’s 12th-minute penalty which put Rudi Garcia’s side two goals ahead in the tie and left Juve with a mountain to climb.

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Needing to score three unanswered goals in order to go through, Cristiano Ronaldo tried his best to drag the Italian champions over the line.

He levelled the scores on the night with a penalty of his own with two minutes left in the opening period before crashing a second home on the hour mark.

However Juve performed poorly and Lyon managed to hold on to set up a clash with Pep Guardiola’s City, who put out 13-time winners Real Madrid, on August 15.

AFP