Wednesday 13 December 2017

Juve boss Allegri glad to have Pirlo

New Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri. Picture: Nick Potts/PA
New Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

NEW Juventus coach Massimo Allegri might have to make peace with midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo, who was let go by Milan in 2011 - apparently because Allegri wanted a more physical presence in front of the defence.

Allegri says he was both surprised and honoured when the Italian champions approached him to take the job yesterday, just a day after Antonio Conte made his sudden departure.

The 46-year-old Allegri was fired by Milan in January after three-and-a-half seasons with the squad, having led the Rossoneri to the Serie A title in his first year in charge in 2010-11.

After his departure form Milan, Pirlo became one of the architects of Juve's title runs the past three seasons and at 35 remains a key playmaker.

"Unfortunately that year Andrea had a series of injuries and had trouble coming back," Allegri said.

"There were never any problems with Andrea and I never questioned Andrea's qualities, otherwise I would be considered crazy. I'm happy to have him again after three years."

Many Juventus fans were critical of the hiring of Allegri.

"I understand the fans' skepticism, because in the space of a single day their coach was changed," Allegri said. "I hope to win them over with hard work, respect and professionalism.

"It was like a lightning bolt in a clear sky when I was called yesterday," Allegri said after signing a two-year deal. "It's an honor and I realize how important it is to coach Juventus. I'm here to help this squad continue to win."

Conte led Juventus to the past three Serie A titles but left by mutual consent Tuesday.

"We're closing one winning cycle and opening another," Juventus chief executive Giuseppe Marotta said.

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