Former Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo was announced as the club’s new boss over the weekend just hours after Maurizio Sarri was sacked in a shock move by the Italian giants.
Juve were closely linked to both Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, but instead opted for Pirlo just nine days after he appointed him Under-23 coach.
The 41-year-old has many issues to resolve quickly at the club. Here, Sports messaging takes a look at the 10 issues Pirlo faces that may jeopardize his journey as a good club manager.
Ex-Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo was announced as the club’s new boss on Saturday
1. Power and decisions with Nedved and Paratici
Pirlo will have a say in the signings as each decision will rest with Juventus vice-president Pavel Nedved and sporting director Fabio Paratici.
Unlike Pochettino and Zidane, who would have liked more control over buying and selling.
Pirlo will never have the final say on a buy or sell name but will always have to turn to Nedved and Paratici, who will help him in the first months of his acclimatization to the new role.
Pirlo has suggested the names on his wishlist but the final decision will still be made by management and President Andrea Agnelli.
The decisions will be made by vice-president Pavel Nedved (R) and sporting director Fabio Paratici (L)
2. More firepower needed
Cristiano Ronaldo will not always be able to score 30 goals a year and Juventus want to buy a player who can inherit the No.9 shirt.
Juve haven’t had a real center-forward, capable of scoring 20 to 25 goals every year since the days of David Trezeguet. The club are looking for a young striker with these characteristics in the transfer market.
Without an indisputable striker, any Pirlo tactical plan could be crushed.
Napoli’s Arkadiusz Milik is a concrete option given the strained relationship with his club and boss Gennaro Gattuso, but chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis continues to demand around 40million euros (£ 36million) to sell. Juventus’ dream is said to be signing Duvan Zapata from Atalanta.
Juventus cannot be too dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo and must find a clear striker
3. Huge challenge for a recruit
Andrea Pirlo will be forced to take on the enormous challenge of managing Juventus without much experience.
At least initially, the help of Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will be fundamental and will have to ensure that the new boss Andrea is the protagonist in the eyes of all the other players.
Pirlo could be forced to look for an authoritarian style to be heard by all: only time will tell if Agnelli won or lost his bet by promoting Pirlo as the first team coach instead of Sarri. The staff that will support Pirlo will be very young and the main assistant will be Simone Barone, a former youth coach from Naples.
Gianluigi Buffon (R), Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will help Pirlo in his new challenge
4. Inherit from an aging side
Pirlo inherited from a former team of Sarri, the team with the highest average age in Serie A (29 years): Blaise Matuidi, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Gonzalo Higuain, Gianluigi Buffon and Sami Khedira all have more 33 years old. A very serious problem given that many of these players have a key role within the club.
Higuain, Khedira and Matuidi are not part of the club’s plan and will be forced to leave Turin. The Argentina striker heard the news of Sarri’s departure and knew his Italian adventure ended with the sacking of his longtime friend and trainer.
Pirlo inherited a former team – defender Bonucci (above) and many more are over 33
5. New training methods needed
Juventus want a change in training methods: the ways of Sarri and his staff disappointed Agnelli. Over the past month, the team struggled in the closing minutes of games, indicating a low level of fitness.
During the defeat against Lyon in the Champions League, the big difference appeared in the physical preparation of the two clubs despite the return of the French formation from five months of inactivity.
The physical dominance of Garcia’s squad infuriated both President Agnelli and Nedved.
Juventus want a change of method, the ways of Sarri and his staff have disappointed the club
6. Tactics for sorting
Pirlo’s first problem will be finding the best tactics for his team. One of Sarri’s biggest problems was his stubbornness in using the 4-3-3 formation.
He previously said: “I’m 4-3-3 and everyone’s on offense. I like that the action starts with defense and develops quickly.
Will Pirlo use the same system or 4-3-1-2, 4-2-3-1 or even a mix? Pirlo has a lot to consider in getting the most out of the players at his disposal.
Former midfielder maestro Pirlo has a lot to consider in getting the most out of the players
7. A leaky defense
Juventus constantly concede goals: in Serie A for the first time, the club won the Scudetto by conceding more than 30 goals, a negative record that did not please the hierarchy.
Sarri’s defense conceded more than one goal per game. The last time Juventus did worse was with Luigi Delneri on the bench in the 2010-11 season, conceding 42 Serie A goals and finishing in seventh place.
Pirlo’s task will be to minimize the defensive fears of a team that has forgotten how to defend themselves.
Pirlo’s task will be to minimize the defensive fears of a team that has forgotten how to defend themselves
8. Coping without Matthijs de Ligt
Matthijs de Ligt’s serious shoulder injury will force Pirlo to focus all his attention on Merih Demiral.
The Dutch defender is undergoing shoulder surgery and will be sidelined until November, meaning Demiral will likely step up.
Being arguably your best defender for the start of the season is far from ideal.
Matthijs de Ligt’s serious shoulder injury will force Pirlo to focus his attention on Merih Demiral
9. Getting big names on board
Although Juventus won Serie A under Sarri, the former Chelsea boss lost them two trophies by losing Supercoppa Italiana to Lazio and Coppa Italia to Napoli and the Champions League crush will hurt.
Pirlo is a newbie manager and needs to gain a team full of experienced and talented stars.
After their exit from the European elite competition, Ronaldo promised to “come back stronger and more committed than ever”.
The Portugal international didn’t always seem to agree with Sarri and Pirlo will have to avoid a repeat and keep the big names aside.
Pirlo is a newbie manager and needs to gain a team full of experienced and talented stars
10. Very big names await its failure
Zidane and Pochettino were heavily linked with the Turin hotseat following Sarri’s sacking and the pressure is therefore on Pirlo.
“I honestly wouldn’t have bet € 1 on Pirlo becoming a coach,” ex-Juve striker Alessandro Del Piero told Sky.
“It was a surprise for me too. I was already happy that he was the choice for the Under 23 team, it was the right step for him, but here we went further, and so I wish him good luck.
“In general, the perception of former players who become coaches is changing.
“Before there was a need for a long apprenticeship, instead in recent years we’ve seen Filippo and Simone Inzaghi, then Gattuso… Great champions who immediately started with great teams.
“Andrea and the comparison with Zinedine Zidane? Isn’t it okay to do that, Zizou had coached Team B and was Ancelotti’s deputy, but Pirlo has all the skills to do even bigger things than Zidane.
“He knows the environment, the players and the club, I think they spoke very clearly. “
Zinedine Zidane (R) and Mauricio Pochettino (L) were closely linked at the Turin hotseat