Juventus sacks Maurizio Sarri after Champions League exit

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a double in the 2-1 home win on Friday, but it could not prevent the Italian powerhouse from going out on the away goals rule after the tie ended 2-2 on aggregate.

Despite leading Juve to a ninth straight Serie A title in his first season in charge, Sarri has paid the price for his side’s failure on the European stage.

“Maurizio Sarri has been relieved of his post as coach of the first team,” said a club statement.

“The club would like to thank the coach for writing a new page in Juventus history by winning a ninth consecutive Scudetto, the culmination of a personal journey that saw him move through every level of Italian football.”

Sarri, 61, replaced Massimiliano Allegri last season, after leading Chelsea to success in the Europa League.

All looked well as Juventus started the season with a 14-game unbeaten run in Serie A, but was facing a stronger challenge from both Inter Milan and Lazio, losing for the first time in the league to the latter in December.

Defeats in the Italian Cup and Italian Super Cup also undermined confidence in Sarri, while poor form since the season restart saw Juve cling on in the title race by just a single point to Antonio Conte’s Inter.

The exit to Lyon proved the final straw, with Memphis Depay’s first half penalty for the visitor sealing the French side’s passage despite Ronaldo’s goals taking his total to 37 for the 2019/20 season, a club record.

Juventus has not won the Champions League since 1996, finishing runners-up five times in the intervening period with the defeat to Lyon the first in the last 16 since 2016.

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It led to a stream of unfavorable headlines in the Italian sports papers as the quest for a third title in Europe’s premier club competition ended in bitter disappointment.

It was a far cry from Sarri’s arrival in Turin last summer, his reputation forged in three seasons in charge of Napoli, where the side’s fast-paced style of football — nicknamed “Sarriball” — earned plaudits as well as turning the team into challengers to Juventus.

Despite winning Europe’s second-tier club competition with Chelsea, Sarri was relieved of his duties after just one season, paving the way for his dream move to Juventus.