Juventus' elimination from the Champions League spelled the end for Maurizio Sarri and the start of a new era under Andrea Pirlo.

Despite leading the Bianconeri to a ninth straight Scudetto in 2019-20, Sarri was fired after Juve crashed out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage to Lyon on Friday.

Pirlo was at the heart of Juve's brilliant midfield during the start of their Serie A dominance, winning four Scudetti, the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana twice during a four-year stint that ended when he moved to New York City in 2015.

A week after returning to Juve as their Under-23 boss, Pirlo was handed the reins of the first team ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

He is not the first club legend to go back and manage a team they played for, though, and we have taken a look at the biggest successes and failures.

HITS

Pep Guardiola

After leaving Barcelona as a player in 2001, Guardiola returned as the Barca B boss in 2007 before being promoted to head coach of the first team a year later. Over four years in charge at Camp Nou he led the Blaugrana to 14 trophies, including three LaLiga titles and two Champions League crowns. Success has continued to come Guardiola's way with Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

Zinedine Zidane

World Cup winner Zidane was part of Real Madrid's 'Galacticos' in the early 2000s and he finished his playing career at the Santiago Bernabeu. Like Guardiola, he returned to oversee the second team before stepping up to the top job after the departure of Rafael Benitez in January 2016. Zidane went on to win an unprecedented three successive Champions League titles with Madrid before stepping away in May 2018, only to return 10 months later. He has already won LaLiga and the Supercopa de Espana in his second stint.

Antonio Conte

In 13 seasons as a player for Juventus, Conte won almost everything there is to win – five league titles, the Coppa Italia, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup. He moved into management two years after retiring and worked his way back to Juve after spells with Arezzo, Bari, Atalanta and Siena. Juve won three straight Scudetti under Conte – the start of their ongoing dominance – before he accepted the Italy job in 2014. Pirlo will have to get the better of his former coach Conte, now at Inter, if he is to maintain the Bianconeri's run of titles.

Roberto Di Matteo

Di Matteo accepted the top job at Chelsea in 2012, having previously been assistant to Andre Villas-Boas. Di Matteo – who won the FA Cup twice with the Blues as a player – went on to lift two trophies as Chelsea boss, including their first Champions League title with a penalty shoot-out win over Bayern Munich, but he was discarded early in the following season.

MISSES

Alan Shearer

Record Premier League goalscorer, Newcastle United legend and lethal England striker – Shearer's playing career was full of success. When he retired in 2006, Shearer moved into television as a pundit, but when the Magpies came calling in 2009 he stepped in to try and save them from relegation. Sadly for Shearer he was unsuccessful, his eight-game reign ending in Newcastle slipping out of the top flight after a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on the final day.

Filippo Inzaghi

Employing former players as head coaches had previously worked well for Milan – Fabio Capello and Carlo Ancelotti proving particularly successful. When the Rossoneri turned to Inzaghi in 2014 after Clarence Seedorf's brief tenure, the move was therefore no surprise. However, the former striker – who won eight major trophies at the club in his playing days – flopped, winning just 14 of his 40 matches in charge as Milan finished 10th, their worst league position in 17 years.

Thierry Henry

Henry made his name at Monaco after breaking into the first team in 1994, the forward going on to become a world champion and a Premier League icon with Arsenal. After a period as youth coach with the Gunners, Henry was named as Belgium boss Roberto Martinez's assistant. Permanent roles with Bordeaux and Aston Villa were mooted, but in October 2018 Henry chose Monaco. He lasted just three months, losing 11 of his 20 matches in charge across all competitions before being replaced by Leonardo Jardim, the man he had succeeded.

Juan Jose Lopez

One of the most decorated players in River Plate history, having won seven league titles in an 11-year spell, Lopez was a popular appointment after making a strong impact in his second period as caretaker manager in 2010. However, he subsequently presided over a poor 2011 Clausura campaign, forcing River into a play-off against Belgrano, who won 3-1 on aggregate. It was the first time River dropped out of the top tier, sparking riots which left many people injured.

Bournemouth have announced the appointment of Jason Tindall as the club's new manager.

Tindall steps up having previously served as assistant to former boss Eddie Howe, who stepped down by mutual consent following relegation to the Championship.

The managerial pairing oversaw a stunning rise for the Cherries, clinching three promotions in the space of six seasons as they made it to the Premier League.

However, with Howe's reign coming to an end after five seasons in the top flight, Tindall has signed a three-year contract to take the top job.

"It's an honour and a privilege to be the manager of such a great football club," Tindall said.

"Given the success of the club over the last 12 years, with Eddie in charge and me by his side, I'm not going to come in and rip everything up and start again. I would be a fool to do that.

"But I'm my own person with my own ideas and I will be looking to implement them as soon as we get back on the training ground.

"I know the Championship is a very tough league but my aim is to get this club back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.

"This is a challenge that I feel I'm ready for and one I’m looking forward to."

Aston Villa have named Craig Shakespeare as their new assistant head coach in a move that will prompt further questions about the future of John Terry.

The former Chelsea captain, who has been assistant to boss Dean Smith at Villa since October 2018, has been linked with the vacant manager job at relegated Bournemouth.

While Terry's future remains unclear, Villa have secured proven Premier League experience in Shakespeare, who was assistant to Claudio Ranieri when Leicester City won the title in 2015-16 before taking over as manager between February and October 2017.

"I was keen to add some additional Premier League know-how onto my coaching team and Craig certainly has that in abundance," Smith said via Villa's website.

"He's a vastly experienced coach who will add another dimension to our team. I've known Craig for many years since our Walsall playing days and I'm really looking forward to working with him."

Villa secured Premier League survival on the final day of 2019-20, a 1-1 draw with West Ham seeing them finish a point above 18th-place Bournemouth.

Eddie Howe left the Cherries by mutual consent shortly after the season concluded and they are yet to name a replacement.

While Terry has been linked with a move to the south coast for what would be his first manager role, recent reports suggest Howe's assistant Jason Tindall is the preferred candidate.

Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future has dominated headlines.

With Aubameyang due to become a free agent in 2021, Arsenal have been desperate to re-sign the Gabon international.

Now, it looks like the 31-year-old will remain at Emirates Stadium for an extended period.

 

TOP STORY – AUBAMEYANG TO SIGN NEW DEAL

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is close to signing a new three-year contract with Arsenal, according to The Telegraph.

Aubameyang's current deal is due to expire next year and the Arsenal star has been linked to LaLiga giants Barcelona, as well as Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Inter.

But Aubameyang is set to sign a deal that will run until 2023, a two-year extension.

 

ROUND-UP

- Journalist Fabrizio Romano claims it is only a matter of time before Willian signs a contract with Arsenal until 2023. Chelsea midfielder Willian is free to talk to clubs as his deal at Stamford Bridge expires. The Gunners are also eyeing Thomas Partey but Atletico Madrid insist the midfielder will not leave unless his £45million (€50m) release clause is paid.

Paul Pogba is happy at Manchester United and is ready to sign a new contract, reports Romano. Pogba has been previously linked to former club Juventus and LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

- Staying at Old Trafford, and The Guardian claims United will listen to offers for Jesse Lingard as they try to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. United and Dortmund are still negotiating a transfer for Sancho, according to widespread reports.

Edinson Cavani could be poised to join Brazilian outfit Atletico Mineiro, reports Globo Esporte. The 33-year-old Uruguay international is a free agent after leaving PSG. Cavani has been linked to Portuguese giants Benfica, newly promoted Premier League team Leeds United, MLS outfit Inter Miami, Atletico and Inter.

Everton are interested in signing Atletico's Thomas Lemar, says Le10Sport. Carlo Ancelotti's Everton are also hoping to bring United full-back Diego Dalot to Goodison Park, reports The Mirror.

- According to The Athletic, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is set to join Tottenham from Southampton. Spurs will pay £19m for the former Bayern Munich midfielder.

Liverpool will have to pay close to £20m for Norwich City left-back Jamal Lewis after the Premier League champions had a £10m offer rejected, says The Guardian.

David Silva looks set to move to Lazio. According to Sky Sport Italia, the Manchester City midfielder – a free agent – will swap the Premier League for Serie A following the club's Champions League campaign.

Philippe Coutinho's move to Arsenal is seemingly getting close.

The Brazil international has been on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona in 2019-20, but is expected to leave Camp Nou permanently.

A return to the Premier League has been mooted.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL DEAL FOR COUTINHO IS 'ADVANCED'

A deal sending Coutinho to Arsenal from Barcelona is "more advanced", according to Sport.

The former Liverpool star would head back to England less than three years after leaving Anfield.

Coutinho has scored nine goals in 34 games for Bayern in 2019-20.

 

ROUND-UP

- There could be good news coming for Barcelona. Mundo Deportivo reports Marc-Andre ter Stegen has agreed to extend his deal at the club for five years, but there is still no financial agreement between the parties.

- Jerome Boateng's Bayern Munich future seems uncertain. Sport Bild reports the Bundesliga champions want to sell the defender, who would like to extend his contract beyond 2021.

- Takefusa Kubo looks set for another loan spell away from Real Madrid. AS reports Kubo will join Villarreal on loan for 2020-21, having spent this season at Mallorca.

- Are Liverpool looking for a back-up for Andy Robertson? The Athletic reports the Premier League champions value left-back Jamal Lewis at £10million, but Norwich City will not even enter talks for less than £20m.

- Contracted at Manchester United until 2022, Tahith Chong could be heading elsewhere to gain experience. Sport Bild says Werder Bremen are in talks with United over a loan deal for the attacker.

- After losing the Championship play-off final, Brentford may also see a star depart. The Guardian reports Crystal Palace are battling with Aston Villa to sign Ollie Watkins, who scored 26 goals in 49 Championship games in 2019-20.

Joe Bryan's unlikely extra-time double sent Fulham to the Premier League in a 2-1 extra-time win over west London rivals Brentford in Tuesday's Championship play-off final at Wembley.

The full-back caught goalkeeper David Raya off guard with a 35-yard effort towards the end of the first half of extra time, with the Brentford goalkeeper expecting his opponent to cross.

Incredibly Bryan scored a second after a wonderful move in the closing moments as the former Bristol City man proved the difference-maker in a game otherwise lacking in quality

Henrik Dalsgaard pulled one back in stoppage time of the second period of extra time but it was too little, too late as Fulham returned to the top flight at the first time of asking following relegation last season.

Brentford's defeat in a match dubbed the richest game in football meanwhile means their 73-year wait to play in English football's top tier continues.

Fulham were the main aggressors in a first half devoid of chances, Josh Onomah forcing Raya into a smart low stop down to his right after 17 minutes the closest Scott Parker's side went.

Harrison Reed was perhaps fortunate only to see yellow for a late slide on Christian Norgaard half an hour in, while Neeskens Kebano bent a free-kick in the side-netting shortly after the break.

Fulham again had a chance when Bobby Decordova-Reid shot wide on the half-volley from a promising position inside the area.

It took until the 71st minute for Brentford dangerman Ollie Watkins to test Marek Rodak with an edge-of-the-box drive and he also scuffed wide under pressure from Michael Hector early in extra time.

The game needed a spark and Bryan provided it to the dismay of Raya, the full-back shooting from an improbable free-kick out on the left after spotting Brentford's keeper well out of position. 

Fulham made sure when Bryan received Tom Cairney's pass, played a one-two with Aleksandar Mitrovic and slotted past Raya with his weaker right foot.

There was still time for Dalsgaard to nod in when Norgaard kept Said Benrahma's cross alive but the seconds soon ticked down on Brentford's promotion push as the final whistle brought delirious Fulham celebrations.,

Eddie Howe has stepped down as Bournemouth manager by mutual consent.

A 3-1 win over Everton in Howe's final game in charge on July 26 was not enough to save the club from relegation, ending a five-season stay in the Premier League.

Howe, 42, has led Bournemouth in more than 450 games across two spells in charge that span all four of England's professional divisions.

"Having spent a total of 25 years with the club as both a player and a manager, this decision – made together with the club – is one of the hardest I've ever had to make," Howe, who made in excess of 300 appearances for the Cherries as a player, told fans in an open letter.

"However, although the affection and love I have for this football club will always remain, we collectively feel that now is the right time for the club to go in a new direction.

"Bournemouth will always be in my heart but I firmly believe that now is the right time foe the club to have a change.

"I have always ensured that every decision I have ever made as manager has been in the best interests of the club and its supporters, and this is no different."

Howe initially took charge of Bournemouth on a caretaker basis in December 2008, with the club bottom of the Football League having started the season on -17 points.

He masterminded an unlikely survival bid and earned promotion the following season – an achievement that sparked widespread interest in his services.

In January 2011, he made the move to Burnley but left Turf Moor to return to the south coast 21 months later.

An incredible run of two promotions in three seasons followed, with Howe's commitment to expansive, attacking football remaining largely unchecked throughout their impressive Premier League stay.

 

Troy Parrott has joined Millwall on loan for the 2020-21 campaign and is relishing the chance to prove himself away from Tottenham.

Parrott, 18, is highly regarded at Spurs and signed a new three-year deal in February, but he found first-team football hard to come by this season.

The teenager was thought to be in with a chance of increased game time when Harry Kane suffered a serious hamstring injury at the start of January, though Parrott finished the season with just two Premier League appearances to his name.

The Republic of Ireland international will now drop a division to the Championship for the forthcoming campaign, as he moves across London to Millwall on a season-long loan deal.

The switch should provide a grateful Parrott with his first exposure to regular first-team football, and it sees him follow in the footsteps of Kane, who spent the second half of the 2011-12 season with Millwall and won the club's Young Player of the Year award.

"I'm buzzing to get straight into things, I'm really looking forward to it," Parrott told Millwall's website. "The crowd, the club itself - I've heard a lot of good things. When I've watched games, the littlest of things gets them going, and I want to be a part of something like that.

"It's not hard to see from the outside that all [the fans] are looking for is someone to give 100 per cent every game. When I was growing up playing football, that was the player I always was, so I feel as though I can fit it very well. I'm really excited to get going, work hard and give everything for the fans.

"I'm really grateful to Spurs for letting me go out on loan and get some regular football. Hopefully I can improve a lot whilst at Millwall."

Wigan Athletic have confirmed manager Paul Cook has left the financially troubled club.

Following his appointment in May 2017, Cook claimed the League One title in his first season in charge, while Wigan finished 18th in the Championship the following campaign to retain their status in the second tier.

Wigan appeared on course to stay up again this term after a spectacular run of form since the start of 2020, but they were deducted 12 points after entering administration and went on to be relegated.

While they have launched an appeal - they would have finished 13th without the points sanction - Cook announced his departure on Saturday with a "heavy heart".

"It is well publicised that the club is going through an incredibly challenging period and, of course, we are all hoping a positive outcome can be found so this football club can write its next chapter under new ownership," he said in a statement.

"That has to be the main priority for everyone involved and I know the administrators are working hard to ensure the club can get through these difficult times and find new owners.

"I want to thank every player for their efforts, hard work and commitment during my three years as manager. I would like to thank my assistant Leam Richardson and as a collective I thank all of my support staff and the staff behind the scenes who are so pivotal to the football club.

"We must also not forget the 75 people who unfortunately lost their jobs a few weeks ago and I hope for those people that the club can find a positive solution and move forwards in the near future."

Cook has been linked with the vacancy at Bristol City, while he was also rumoured to be in the running for the Birmingham City job before the appointment of Aitor Karanka.

Aitor Karanka has been appointed as the new head coach of Championship side Birmingham City.

The Spaniard, who has signed a three-year deal, replaces compatriot Pep Clotet, who was dismissed with four games of the Championship remaining.

Karanka led Middlesbrough out of the second tier in the 2015-16 campaign and spent a year as Nottingham Forest boss before departing in January 2019.

"I'm delighted to be joining a club with the history and fanbase that Birmingham City has," Karanka told the club website.

"I share the excitement and determination of everyone here to start working together on all the challenges that lie ahead."

Birmingham finished just two places and two points above the relegation zone this season, and it would have been just one spot had Wigan Athletic not been docked points for entering administration.

As a player, Karanka won a LaLiga title and three Champions League medals with Real Madrid, for whom he was also an assistant coach under Jose Mourinho.

Fulham lost 2-1 to Cardiff in the second leg of their Championship play-off semi-final but held on to progress 3-2 on aggregate and set up a final with west London rivals Brentford.

The hosts finished eight points better off than their opponents at the end of the regular season and held a 2-0 lead from Monday's first leg in south Wales.

No team has overturned a two-goal first-leg deficit in the play-offs but Cardiff gave themselves real hope inside eight minutes at Craven Cottage through Curtis Nelson's close-range header.

Fulham required 54 seconds to restore their two-goal aggregate advantage, however, with Neeskens Kebano - on target late in the first leg - sweeping a low shot past Alex Smithies.

The tie took another twist 82 seconds into the second half when Lee Tomlin, introduced at half-time, volleyed in after Nathan Mendez-Laing's header was parried by Marek Rodak.

Aboubakar Kamara had a long-ranger tipped on to the post by Alex Smithies before Cardiff asked the questions late on, though Fulham withstood the pressure and will face neighbours Brentford - 3-2 aggregate winners over Swansea City on Wednesday - at Wembley in five days.

 

That was not good for the blood pressure, but...

WE'RE GOING TO WEMBLEY!!! pic.twitter.com/YXyN6lf0g8

— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) July 30, 2020

Brentford survived a nervy finish and beat Swansea City 3-1 in the final match at Griffin Park to reach the Championship play-off final.

The Bees, who last played in the top flight in 1947, missed out on automatic promotion on the last day of the season and then lost the semi-final first leg 1-0 in Wales.

But a superb start on Wednesday set Brentford on their way to a 3-2 aggregate success.

Ollie Watkins raced onto Mathias Jensen's defence-splitting pass after 11 minutes and finished calmly as Swansea were punished on the counter-attack.

The hosts then led for the first time in the tie just four minutes later as Emiliano Marcondes headed in unmarked when found by Said Benrahma, who soon struck the post.

And Swansea's hopes of a swift second-half recovery were dashed when Bryan Mbeumo added a superb third 54 seconds after the interval.

A dismal Pontus Jansson error teed up Rhian Brewster for a lob that brought the visitors back into the match with 12 minutes to go, but Brentford battled bravely to book a Wembley date.

Neil Warnock will attempt to guide Middlesbrough back into the Premier League after the veteran manager committed to leading the former UEFA Cup runners-up next season.

The 71-year-old replaced former Real Madrid and Leeds United defender Jonathan Woodgate at the Middlesbrough helm in June and four wins in eight games ensured they avoided relegation from the Championship.

He had previously been appointed only on a short-term basis but will stay on for the new campaign, Middlesbrough announced on Tuesday.

Warnock, who has achieved eight promotions in his managerial career, is planning an overhaul of his squad before the 2020-21 season begins on the second weekend in September.

He said: "It won't be easy, we need quite a large influx of players and I'll be doing my best over the next few weeks to get the right ones."

Warnock is eyeing a promotion quest next term, rather than another scrap near the foot of the Championship table.

He told Middlesbrough's website: "It's been hard work, make no mistake. But this is a great club and I'd like to take it towards the other end of the table.

"I must have retired about five times now, but there's always something that's brought me back, a challenge, helping somebody out, and this is a similar situation."

Middlesbrough, who lost to Sevilla in the 2006 UEFA Cup final, last competed in the Premier League in the 2016-17 season. In the three years since their relegation, they have finished fifth, seventh and 17th in the second tier.

Superb goals from Josh Onomah and Neeskens Kebano gave Fulham a 2-0 win over Cardiff City in the away first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final.

Cardiff were the better side in the opening stages and only a superb last-ditch challenge from Michael Hector prevented Robert Glatzel from prodding into an empty net.

Fulham went close to taking the lead in first-half stoppage time when Tom Cairney's curled effort from 25 yards clipped the outside of Alex Smithies' right-hand post.

They did forge ahead four minutes after the restart, Onomah waltzing past three Cardiff defenders inside the penalty area before coolly finishing past Smithies.

Kebano then whipped home a wonderful free-kick in stoppage time to give Scott Parker's side a healthy advantage ahead of the second leg at Craven Cottage on Thursday.

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp has been crowned the League Managers Association (LMA) Manager of the Year.

Klopp oversaw a stunning campaign for the Reds, guiding them to a club-record total of 99 points to claim their first top-flight title in 30 years.  

They lost just three Premier League games all season and finished a whopping 18 points clear of second-placed Manchester City.

After being presented with the Sir Alex Ferguson Trophy, named after the iconic ex-Manchester United manager, Klopp said: "I'm absolutely delighted to be named the winner of this wonderful Sir Alex Ferguson Trophy, named after a man that I admire so much.

"It feels extra special to win this award because it is voted for by my fellow managers.

"It's an honour to be in the company of so many managers who have been named as LMA Manager of the Year before, including Liverpool managers like Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Kenny Dalglish and, in recent years, Brendan Rodgers.

"Everything we have accomplished at Liverpool this year couldn't have been done without the superb input of my coaching staff; they make us a really special bunch of football brains.

"I love to work with my coaches, my players and everyone at Liverpool and, of course, I am thankful for the support from all our wonderful Liverpool fans."

Leeds United's Marcelo Bielsa was named as the Championship Manager of the Year, meanwhile, after guiding the Yorkshire giants to the title and a return to the Premier League after a 16-year absence.

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