Soccer

Sarri sacked by Juventus after UCL exit

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri has been sacked following the club’s Champions League elimination against Lyon, it was announced on Saturday.

The Serie A side suffered a round-of-16 exit to the French club despite a 2-1 win on Friday night, losing on the away goals rule as the tie ended 2-2 on aggregate.

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A Juventus statement said: “Juventus Football Club announces that Maurizio Sarri has been relieved of his post as coach of the First Team.

“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.”

Despite winning a ninth successive Serie A title last month, Sarri’s team have not managed to convince the critics during his first season in charge. Their failure to even match last season’s quarterfinals performance in the Champions League was the final straw for the 61-year-old.

Sarri leaves Juventus with a record of 34 wins in 51 competitive matches, eight draws and nine defeats. Their tally of 83 points in Serie A this season was the lowest of their nine-season run of titles. Juventus also lost the Italian Supercup to Lazio and the Coppa Italia final to Napoli.

“If I wasn’t devastated by not qualifying, I’d be happy with the performance,” Sarri said after Juventus’ defeat to Lyon.

“I actually expected less from us, I think we played a great game. We fell behind to a penalty kick that could have made us lose our heads and we had three chances when we were 2-1 ahead.”

Meanwhile, Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli is adamant Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at the club despite him exiting the Champions League at the round-of-16 stage for the first time since 2010.

A report in France had claimed Ronaldo wanted to move to Paris Saint-Germain. Sources have told ESPN, though, the Ligue 1 side are prioritising the contract renewals of key players Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

“I am entirely convinced he will stay,” Angelli said. “I think the report was down to an interview from several months ago, which just happened to be published just before we played against a French team. It’s an old media trick. No, I can assure you that Ronaldo remains a pillar of Juventus.”

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