Allegri leaves behind 'solid' Juventus

Coach Massimiliano Allegri celebrating Juventus' Serie A win with his players after beating Fiorentina 2-1 at home on April 20.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri celebrating Juventus' Serie A win with his players after beating Fiorentina 2-1 at home on April 20.PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME • Massimiliano Allegri believes that he is leaving behind a squad strong enough to win the Champions League next season, after it was confirmed on Friday that the Juventus coach will depart the club at the end of this season.

Speaking at an emotional press conference yesterday when president Andrea Agnelli, first-team players and club officials were present, the Italian said: "I leave a winning team which has the potential to repeat its achievements in Italy and have another great Champions League campaign.

"Unfortunately, some situations meant we couldn't go all the way (during my time).

"We talked, expressed our ideas on what was best for Juventus and the future of Juventus. After that, the club evaluated it and decided it was best that I wouldn't be the coach of Juventus next season.

"I leave behind a solid group with extraordinary players, both technically and as men, because you need good men to win as well as good footballers."

The 51-year-old, whose contract had been running through to June 2020, has been in charge of the Italian Serie A club since joining from AC Milan in 2014, and won the league title in each of his five seasons in charge.

In the Champions League, however, Juve's 23-year wait was extended this term after they lost in the quarter-finals to Ajax.

They had also lost the 2015 final to Barcelona and were again runners-up two years later to Real Madrid.

Despite that, Allegri, who also led the club to four Italian Cups and two Super Cups, insisted that he will part ways on friendly terms.

"I am happy and moved, but enough with it because tomorrow we have to celebrate the Scudetto (after Juve's final home match of the season against Atalanta today) and the farewell of (retiring defender) Andrea Barzagli," added Allegri, speaking at times with a broken voice.

"We have to celebrate because these were five extraordinary years."

Agnelli said he would not answer questions about the next coach, as he thanked Allegri for "closing one of Juve's most extraordinary moments" and gave him a shirt with the words "history alone".

The duo then hugged at the end of the press conference and left the room to huge applause.

According to Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport , former Juventus and Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will not replace Allegri because he has already agreed to join Inter Milan.

DPA, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 19, 2019, with the headline 'Allegri leaves behind 'solid' Juventus'. Print Edition | Subscribe