Andrea Pirlo is lucky to be starting his coaching career at Juventus, according to Roberto Mancini, but the Italy boss believes the club have made a good call.

Pirlo was appointed as Juve's new head coach on Saturday, a matter of hours after Maurizio Sarri was relieved of his duties.

Sarri led Juve to a ninth straight Serie A crown this season, but failed to improve their standing in the Champions League as they headed out on the away goals rule against Lyon in the last 16 on Friday.

The role is Pirlo's first as a coach and while Mancini feels the Italy great is fortunate to have landed such a high-profile job, he thinks it will prove to be an astute appointment.

"I did not expect Juventus to go out [of the Champions League]," Mancini told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I was sure they would have advanced.

"But it was a terrible, unpredictable and difficult year. Especially for those who have made changes, like Juve. Sarri wasn't able to bring through his football.

"[Pirlo] is lucky. He starts from the top and with the best team. Maybe I didn't start from the bottom, but I started at Fiorentina, not with Juve.

"Jokes aside, if I was searching, I would have been looking at Andrea. He has great knowledge of football. Like [Daniele] De Rossi. I would have liked to work with him.

"There's always a first time. Andrea opens up a new path. Let's follow him. Good luck to him."

With Juve and Napoli exiting the Champions League in the last 16, only one Italian side – Atalanta – remain in the competition.

They go up against Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight and Mancini believes Atalanta can play with full confidence against the Ligue 1 champions.

"Let's calm down and think of PSG, who are a great team and have more experience," Mancini said.

"They are certainly not at the top. They have lost [Edinson] Cavani, will not have [Angel] Di Maria, [Marco] Verratti, [Kylian] Mbappe and some others who are in doubt.

"Their championship was stopped in March, but regardless of this, Atalanta have every right to play the quarter-final with confidence."

Alex Meret will consider leaving Napoli on loan to find regular playing time elsewhere, the goalkeeper's agent Federico Pastorello has revealed.

The one-cap Italy international featured 29 times for Napoli in 2019-20 but had to alternate with David Ospina in the closing weeks of the season.

Gennaro Gattuso has yet to make a decision on his first choice going forward and Meret is considering his future, two years after joining from Udinese in a reported €35m deal.

Manchester United have been tipped to make a move for the 23-year-old amid concerns over David de Gea, while Roma and Torino have also registered an interest.

"Alex needs to accumulate as many starts as possible to grow more and more," Pastorello told Rai Sport. 

"At his age there are goalkeepers who have been immovable for a long time.

"If we do not succeed, we can consider going out on loan. In fact, we know that Roma and Torino are very interested in negotiating."

Meret was among the subs for Napoli's 3-1 loss to Barcelona on Saturday as the Italian side's Champions League campaign ended with a 4-2 aggregate defeat in the last-16 tie. 

Stefano Pioli "cannot imagine" Milan without Gianluigi Donnarumma and says the club are convinced veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic should stay for another season.

Milan director Ricky Massara revealed last week that discussions are ongoing over new deals for both players.

Donnarumma made his debut as a 16-year-old in 2015-16 and is contracted to the Rossoneri until 2021, while the short-team deal signed by Ibrahimovic in January has expired.

And head coach Pioli, who signed a two-year extension of his own last month, is eager for both players to pen fresh terms.

"I cannot imagine a Milan without Donnarumma," he told La Repubblica. "He is 21 years old, he already has experience and has even been captain. 

"He is already among the top three or four goalkeepers in the world and will become the best."

Pioli added: "Ibrahimovic makes everything easy. It is wrong to refer to age with him. He is 100 per cent a professional and makes every training session competitive.

"Paolo [Maldini], [Ivan] Gazidis, Massara and myself are all convinced he should continue with us.

"From the economic perspective, it is right that I stay out of things, but we are all aware of what he has given us."

Milan ended the 2019-20 campaign strongly by going 13 games without defeat in all competitions upon their return to action in June.

Pioli was rewarded with a new deal and insists he paid little notice to speculation that Ralf Rangnick had been lined up to replace him during the close-season.

"Gazidis and the Elliott fund kept their word," he said. "They told me I would be judged at the end of the season.

"It didn't make sense to waste energy on things I was unable to control. I've not seen how Rangnick's teams play. I only concentrated on my own work with my players and staff."

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba would be the "ideal gift" for Andrea Pirlo following his appointment as Juventus head coach, according to former team-mate Luca Toni.

The France international won eight major honours in four seasons with Juve - three of those playing alongside Pirlo - before returning to Old Trafford in 2016.

Pogba was strongly linked with a move back to the Allianz Stadium last year and is into the final season of his United contract, though there is an option to extend that by 12 months.

Retired forward Toni, who played with Pirlo at both club and international level, believes Pogba would be the perfect signing to mark a new chapter at former club Juventus.

"Knowing Andrea, he will start building from midfield," he told Tuttosport. "The ideal gift would be Pogba. I don't know if that's possible, but it would certainly be the best option.

"Andrea will not be a coach who focuses on defending and counter-attacking. He loves to dominate the ball and will want to impose that on his team.

"I don't know what system he will use and I don't think it matters. Andrea is intelligent and flexible."

Pirlo was named Juve's new head coach on Saturday, hours after Maurizio Sarri's sacking on the back of the Italian champions' last-16 exit against Lyon in the Champions League.

Fabio Capello tipped Pirlo to replicate the success of three-time Scudetto-winning boss Antonio Conte, but Toni thinks he is more similar to Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola.

"Character wise, he's more like Pep," he said. "Having said that, Antonio impressed him a lot during his three years at Juventus.

"But in terms of group management, he was fortunate enough to be coached by the two best: [Carlo] Ancelotti and [Max] Allegri.

"All useful experiences, but in the end, he will be himself. He will be Pirlo and he will go his own way. Without pretending or copying anyone."

Could Paulo Dybala swap Italy for Spain?

The Juventus attacker was close to leaving Juventus for either Manchester United or Tottenham prior to the 2019-20 season, while Paris Saint-Germain were also linked.

Now, Real Madrid are reportedly targeting the 26-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – KROOS OUT, DYBALA IN?

Real Madrid are set to offer Toni Kroos or Isco as part of a deal to bring Juventus star Paulo Dybala to the Santiago Bernabeu, according to SportMediaset.

LaLiga champions Madrid are eyeing a move for Dybala, who has been in negotiations with Serie A titleholders Juve over a new contract amid reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Juve are unwilling to part with the Argentina international – who enjoyed a fine Serie A campaign prior to Maurizio Sarri's sacking as he looks ahead to life under Andrea Pirlo.

ROUND-UP

- Kicker claims Jadon Sancho has told Borussia Dortmund he is happy to stay at the club if a blockbuster transfer to Manchester United fails to materialise. The England international has been heavily tipped to join United, with personal terms reportedly agreed.

Barcelona want to sign Manchester City star Bernardo Silva, reports The Telegraph. The LaLiga giants are eyeing a cash-plus-player deal to try to prise the Portugal international to Camp Nou.

- Premier League champions Liverpool are poised to sign Olympiacos left-back Kostas Tsimikas, according to widespread reports. Having failed to strike a deal with Norwich City for Jamal Lewis, Liverpool are close to prising Tsimikas from the Greek powerhouse. Meanwhile, The Sun says Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are targeting a shock £35million swoop for Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks.

- The front page of Monday's edition of Marca says Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane must sell before he is able to sign players ahead of the 2020-21 season. Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez are two players unwanted in the Spanish capital as Madrid continue to be linked with the likes of PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe, Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga.

- AS Diario reports Villarreal are on the verge of signing Valencia pair Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin. Valencia captain Parejo and team-mate Coquelin have been told they are free to leave Mestalla.

Napoli have joined the race to sign Madrid full-back Sergio Reguilon claims Sky Sport Italia. On loan at Sevilla, Reguilon has been linked to Chelsea and Everton.

- According to Calciomercato, Inter are interested in Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. However, salary demands may prove problematic amid talk of a swap deal involving Inter defender Milan Skriniar.

Gianfranco Zola said he is "surprised" by Juventus' decision to appoint first-time head coach Andrea Pirlo following Maurizio Sarri's dismissal.

Pirlo, 41, was sensationally appointed Juve coach on Saturday after the Serie A winners sacked Sarri following their Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Lyon.

Former Juve midfielder Pirlo, who was only recently named the Under-23s boss in Turin, will surprisingly have his first taste of senior coaching with the Bianconeri.

Zola worked as an assistant to Sarri at Chelsea in 2018-19 and he told Sky Sport Italia: "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't surprised by this.

"It's fascinating and if the project works, it'll go down as a huge success story for the club. It's not an easy job, though, as Juventus are asking to win in a certain way.

"This is a courageous move from the club and based on the quality of the man, but Pirlo will need their support going forward. It's not simple, but I do think he can have real success."

Pirlo left Juve in 2015 after the Bianconeri, who had been chasing the treble, were beaten 3-1 in the Champions League final by Barcelona.

He spent two years in MLS with New York City before calling time on his playing career.

The 2006 World Cup winner is a six-time Serie A champion, having won two Scudetti with Milan and four with Juve. He twice triumphed in the Champions League as a Rossoneri player, in 2003 and 2007.

Andrea Pirlo described his pride at being named Juventus head coach as he made his first public comments since Saturday's shock appointment.

Serie A champions Juve moved swiftly after they were knocked out of the Champions League by Lyon in the last 16 on Friday.

Coach Maurizio Sarri was sacked the following day, with Pirlo - only recently named their Under-23s boss - promoted as his replacement on a two-year deal.

The World Cup winner took to social media on Sunday and said: "I'm deeply pleased and honoured to receive such respect and trust from Juventus.

"Ready for this amazing opportunity!"

Pirlo is now set to become a rival to Inter's Antonio Conte, his former coach at Juve and Italy.

Conte welcomed the news as he faced the media ahead of Inter's Europa League quarter-final against Bayer Leverkusen.

"I'm certainly very happy for Andrea," said Conte, whose Nerazzurri finished a point behind Juve in Serie A.

"Besides what he gave me at a football level, we are talking about an exceptional person.

"What I think if there are players who I previously coached and are now coaching is that it means that I'm getting old!"

Paulo Dybala tweeted out his appreciation for Maurizio Sarri the day after the Italian coach was sacked by Juventus.

The Serie A champions decided to take swift action following Friday's Champions League exit to Lyon, announcing the end of Sarri's reign less than 24 hours after the second leg of the last-16 tie.

Juve did not wait long to name his replacement either, giving the job to Andrea Pirlo just over a week after appointing the former Italy international as their new under-23 team coach.

The internal promotion came as a surprise too, considering links to former Juve player and current Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, ex-Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino and Simone Inzaghi, who is in charge of domestic rivals Lazio.

Reacting to the departure of Sarri, Dybala published a picture on Twitter of the pair together with the comment: "Thank you so much for everything Mister!"

Argentina international Dybala enjoyed an excellent 2019-20 season under the former Napoli and Chelsea boss, scoring 11 goals and providing six assists in the league as the Bianconeri finished top of the table for a ninth successive year.

Dybala - who was linked with a move away from Turin last year, including to Manchester United - was named Serie A MVP for his performances in domestic games, including Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana games.

Pedro has confirmed his departure from Chelsea after "five wonderful years" with the Premier League club.

The Spanish forward is out of contract with the Blues and is rumoured to be heading for Italy next, reportedly to join Serie A side Roma on a two-year deal.

His final appearance for Chelsea came to a painful end, as he suffered a dislocated shoulder during the FA Cup final loss to Arsenal. He has since undergone surgery on the injury and did not feature in the Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich on Saturday.

In an Instagram post on Sunday, Pedro reflected on his successul time at Stamford Bridge, thanking all those who helped him feel at home following his move from Barcelona in 2015.

"After five wonderful years my stage at Chelsea comes to an end," he wrote.

"Thanks a lot to the club's board, to the coaches and team-mates I've had, and of course to the fans: thank you for the experience of being a member of your big family. I've been very happy here, you've made me feel like home.

"It's been a pleasure and an honour to play for this club and win the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League titles, as well as competing in one of the world's best football leagues.

"I made the right choice, I take with me wonderful and unforgettable memories."

Pedro was part of Antonio Conte's Chelsea squad who secured the Premier League title in the 2016-17 season, while he also won the FA Cup and the Europa League with the London club.

Chelsea have reportedly joined two Premier League rivals in a tug-of-war for sought-after centre-back Ben White.

The talented Brighton and Hove Albion defender is wanted back at Elland Road, where he spent last season on loan, but Leeds United have long been tipped to face competition from Liverpool.

Now, an unexpected new contender for his signature has emerged.

 

TOP STORY – BLUES WANT WHITE

Frank Lampard and Chelsea have identified the highly rated White as a solution to their issues at the back, reports the Daily Star.

The Blues are said to be keen on the 22-year-old and will jettison Antonio Rudiger if their plan succeeds.

Rudiger struggled during the recent FA Cup final defeat against Arsenal and was overlooked for Saturday's 4-1 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich, which confirmed a heavy 7-1 aggregate hiding.

Sky Sports claims Brighton have already rejected two Leeds offers for White, who has been linked to Liverpool for several months.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Star also has an update on Alexandre Lacazette, who could join Atletico Madrid in a €31.1million (£30m) move once Arsenal tie Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a new contract.

- Manchester United are looking to sell Phil Jones after deciding against sending the defender for knee surgery, reports the Mirror.

- Ligue 1's Monaco are in talks to sign Weston McKennie from Bundesliga club Schalke, according to L'Equipe, although the United States international is also attracting Premier League interest.

- Niko Kovac's men are not the only French outfit weighing up a midfield addition. Paris Saint-Germain have been linked to Ismael Bennacer and Le 10 Sport suggests Serie A side Milan could be tempted by a big-money offer.

Gennaro Gattuso warned Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo that his illustrious playing career will count for little in his new job.

Pirlo, who has not had a coaching job and only took over as Juve's Under-23s boss last week, was handed the reins in Turin on Saturday in the wake of Maurizio Sarri's dismissal.

The former midfielder – who won four Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana during a four-year spell with Juve – has signed a two-year deal.

However, Gattuso, who played alongside Pirlo at Milan and for Italy, provided an honest assessment of the job's difficulties for his former team-mate.

"Well he's screwed now… That's the job," Gattuso told Sky Italia following Napoli's defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League.

"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."

Gattuso's first job in coaching came at FC Sion, with the 42-year-old then having spells at Palermo, OFI Crete and Pisa before he took charge of Milan's youth team in 2017.

He was promoted to first-team head coach following Vincenzo Montella's sacking later that year, though he was dismissed at the end of the 2018-19 campaign after a fifth-placed finish, going on to replace Carlo Ancelotti at Napoli, who he guided to the Coppa Italia title this term.

"Being a player and being a coach is really not the same thing at all," Gattuso added.

"It's a totally different profession and we can't learn it just from books, we need to get in there and work hard. It's a different world."

Juventus have appointed Andrea Pirlo as their new head coach on a two-year deal.

The former Italy midfielder took charge as the Under-23s boss at his old club just nine days ago but has now been named as Maurizio Sarri's successor.

Sarri was sacked on Saturday after Juve were knocked out of the Champions League on away goals at the last-16 stage following a 2-2 aggregate draw with Lyon.

Ex-Juve player and current Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane emerged as one of the initial favourites for the role, along with ex-Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino and Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi.

There was also speculation Italy boss Roberto Mancini could be offered the post, but the club has promoted Pirlo instead.

"From today he will be the coach for 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-23s," a statement read.

"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 left Juve in 2015 after the Bianconeri, who had been chasing the treble, were beaten 3-1 in the Champions League final by Barcelona.

He spent two years in MLS with New York City before calling time on his playing career.

The 2006 World Cup winner is a six-time Serie A champion, having won two with Milan and four with Juve. He won two Champions Leagues as a Rossoneri player, in 2003 and 2007.

Juventus are confident Andrea Pirlo is "destined for greatness" and a natural fit for the club, says chief football officer Fabio Paratici.

Juve dismissed Maurizio Sarri on Saturday in the wake of their Champions League exit at the hands of Lyon on Friday.

Sarri spent just one season at the club, winning the Serie A title but failing in the Coppa Italia and Champions League and his replacement was surprisingly announced just hours later.

Pirlo, who rejoined Juve as the Under-23s coach last week, has signed a two-year deal.

However, despite the job being Pirlo's first in senior coaching, Paratici – whose future is also reportedly in doubt – has full faith in the former midfielder.

"The decision for Pirlo was very natural, in the Juventus style, because he is someone who played with us, has always been in contact with everyone here and it felt natural," Paratici told Sky Sport Italia.

"We also believe he is destined for greatness. He was as a player and we think with confidence he can do the same as a coach."

Paratici reiterated Juve's decision to relieve Sarri of his duties was based on the entire 2019-20 campaign, not just the Champions League exit.

"We had already said, one game does not decide the future of a coach. Our evaluations were based on the whole season and not just a single match," Paratici added.

"A season is long, there are many moments and situations that then add up. There wasn't any spark.

"We simply came to this consideration at the end of a very long season, even after winning the Scudetto. It's not just Europe that decides on success or failure. 

"We are in unexplored territory, because nobody has won nine consecutive Serie A titles before. We achieved it with several eras, really, because they tend to last three to four years. We are at our third era in a row of success, it's almost inexplicable."

Juventus have appointed Andrea Pirlo as their new head coach on a two-year deal.

The former Italy midfielder took charge as the Under-23s boss at his old club just nine days ago but has now been named as Maurizio Sarri's successor.

Sarri was sacked on Saturday after Juve were knocked out of the Champions League on away goals at the last-16 stage following a 2-2 aggregate draw with Lyon.

Ex-Juve player and current Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane emerged as one of the initial favourites for the role, along with ex-Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino and Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi.

There was also speculation Italy boss Roberto Mancini could be offered the post, but the club has promoted Pirlo instead.

"From today he will be the coach for 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-23s," a statement read.

"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 left Juve in 2015 after the Bianconeri, who had been chasing the treble, were beaten 3-1 in the Champions League final by Barcelona.

He spent two years in MLS with New York City before calling time on his playing career.

The 2006 World Cup winner is a six-time Serie A champion, having won two with Milan and four with Juve. He won two Champions Leagues as a Rossoneri player, in 2003 and 2007.

Cristiano Ronaldo spoke of the importance of making "the best decisions for the future" in the wake of Juventus' Champions League exit and the sacking of Maurizio Sarri.

Ronaldo scored twice on Friday to give Juve a 2-1 win over Lyon in Turin, but it was not enough to prevent them going out at the last-16 stage on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

On Saturday, the Bianconeri announced they had sacked head coach Sarri barely a year after he was appointed following his departure from Chelsea.

Sarri guided Juve to a ninth Serie A title in a row, but defeat to Napoli in the Coppa Italia final and a failure to instil his playing style on the squad had led to doubts about his suitability to the job.

Andrea Pirlo, who was only appointed coach of the Juventus under-23 team last month, soon emerged as favourite to take charge at the Allianz Stadium.

Ronaldo urged everyone at Juve to use the short off-season for "critical thinking" so that they can return to satisfy fans' expectations.

While he did not mention Sarri or the speculation around the coach's possible replacement, the Portugal star made it clear the club now need to get things right.

"The 2019-20 season is over for us, much later than usual but yet sooner than we expected," Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.

"Now it's time for reflection, time to analyse the ups and downs because critical thinking is the only way to improve.

"A huge club such as Juventus must always think like the best in the world, work like the best in the world, so that we can call ourselves one of the best and biggest clubs in the world.

"Winning the Serie A once again in such a difficult year is something that we are very proud of. Personally, scoring 37 goals for Juventus and 11 for the Portuguese national team is something that makes me face the future with renewed ambition and desire to keep doing better and better each year.

"But the fans demand more from us. They expect more from us. And we have to deliver, we must live up to the highest expectations.

"May this short vacation break allow us all to make the best decisions for the future and come back stronger and more committed than ever. See you soon!"

Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo's former coach at Real Madrid, was fancied by some as a potential candidate to succeed Sarri.

Italy boss Roberto Mancini, ex-Tottenham man Mauricio Pochettino and Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi were linked with the job in the immediate aftermath of Sarri's departure.

Page 1 of 108
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.