Juventus have sacked manager Maurizio Sarri, after one season in charge, a day after the Italian champions were dumped out of this season’s Champions League in the last 16 by French side Olympique Lyon.
The 61-year-old former Napoli boss was informed of his dismissal in a meeting with club bosses on Saturday morning.
In a statement, Juve said: “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.”
Sarri led the Old Lady to a record-extending ninth Serie A title after joining from Chelsea in the summer but despite still having two years left on his deal, he faced an increasingly uncertain future as Juve’s struggles on the pitch since the restart put his position under the spotlight.
Juventus’ domestic dominance means winning the Serie A is regarded as almost an obligation, while the Champions League – which the side have not won since 1996 – is regarded as their main target.
Sarri replaced Massimiliano Allegri with the remit of instilling a more pleasing style of play and conquering Europe for which they acquired Cristiano Ronaldo but that never looked like materialising and he has now paid the price for Juve’s unconvincing performances this season.
Juve’s 82 points were the lowest in any of their nine-title winning seasons and their ouster from this season’s Champions League in the round of 16 is the earliest they have exited the competition in four years.
Italian media speculate that Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi is among the front-runners to replace Sarri after guiding his team to fourth in the table and Champions League qualification for the first time in 13 years.
Inzaghi has just one year left on his contract and was linked with the Juve job a year ago before the club appointed Sarri.
Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, who has been out of work since being sacked by the English team in November last year, has also been linked with the role.
Speaking after their loss to Lyon on Friday Juve president Andrea Agnelli told Sky in Italy: “This season’s balance is bittersweet, we had a great result winning the ninth championship, but the performance in the Champions League has been disappointing for everyone.
“The Champions League is not a dream, it’s an objective. We need to be disappointed to exit the competition like this, we will take a few days to evaluate how to restart with fresh enthusiasm.
“We have a few goals that need to be met, both domestically and internationally. We will need to make a few evaluations to understand how to start the next season with the will to work and win on any pitch.