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Soccer: Juventus fires coach Andrea Pirlo, rehires Massimiliano Allegri

Massimiliano Allegri, who won five-consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus from 2014 to 2019, was hired Friday for his second tenure as manager of the Italian soccer team. Photo by Andrea Di Marco/EPA-EFE
Massimiliano Allegri, who won five-consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus from 2014 to 2019, was hired Friday for his second tenure as manager of the Italian soccer team. Photo by Andrea Di Marco/EPA-EFE

May 28 (UPI) -- Massimiliano Allegri is headed back to Juventus for a second tenure as manager and replace fired coach Andrea Pirlo, the Italian Serie A club announced Friday.

"Allegri finds a bench he knows very well, a club he loves and loves him, to start a new journey together today, toward new goals," Juventus said in a news release.

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Juventus announced Allegri's hire just hours after it announced Pirlo's departure. Pirlo spent just one season as manager.

"Thank you, Andrea," Juventus said. "These are the first words that all of us need to say at the end of this special experience together."

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Juventus hired Pirlo at the start of the 2020-21 season. He replaced Maurizio Sarri, who joined the team in 2019 and was fired in August. Pirlo led Juventus to 23 wins, six losses and nine draws in 2020-21.

"My first season as a manager has ended," Pirlo wrote Friday on social media. "It has been an intense, complicated but in any case wonderful year."

Juventus, who won nine-consecutive domestic titles from 2011-12 through 2019-20 finished fourth in the 2020-21 Serie A standings.

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Porto knocked Juventus out of the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League in the Round of 16.

"If I had to go back I would make exactly the same choice, although [I'm] aware of all the obstacles I encountered related to such a difficult period for everyone, which prevented me from planning my intentions and my style of play in the best possible way, but during which however, I have achieved the objectives that were asked of me," Pirlo wrote.

"This adventure, despite an ending that I did not expect, made it even clearer what I would like my future to be, which I hope is as complete and full of satisfactions as what I experienced as a footballer."

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Allegri led Juventus to five-consecutive Serie A titles, four Italian Cups, two Super Cups and into two Champions League finals from 2014 to 2019.

Allegri, 53, held previous managerial roles at Aglianese, SPAL, Grosseto, Cagliari and AC Milan. He played midfield throughout Italy from 1984 to 2003.

Pirlo, 42, played midfield for Brescia, Inter Milan, Reggina, AC Milan, Juventus, NYCFC and the Italian national team over his decorated tenure as a player from 1995 to 2017.

"We are ready to restart with Allegri, to build our future together," Juventus said. "With his enormous professionalism, his moral strength, with the brilliant ideas of a technician capable of clearing the cards, on and off the pitch.

"With his smile, a sort of 'signature.' With his way of understanding football and life: simplicity, desire to play down, commitment to enjoy every beautiful moment that playing at Juventus can give and will give."

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