“Predestined.” This is the term that comes up most often about Pirlo, since the ex-playing master of Milan and Juve replaced Maurizio Sarri, ejected after only one season the day after the elimination in the 8th final of Champions League against Lyon. By his vision of the game, his technique, but also his charisma and his culture of winning (One World Cup, two Champions Leagues and six Italian championships), the “Maestro” indeed seems to have a lot to transmit to the Current Juve, untouchable in Italy but a little confused by the Sarri era. But will this exceptional pedigree be enough to take up a sacred bet: to sit on the bench of the most prestigious Italian club (36 titles) without having ever trained before, with a diploma just obtained?
“They say of him that he is predestined, but Guardiola or Zidane, when they started, they already had a little experience as a coach”, warned Fabio Cannavaro, his partner of the World Cup victorious in 2006 in Germany. “The idea of the game, he has it, clearly. But now he will have to be able to transmit it to a group,” added in the Gazzetta dello sport Cannavaro, now coach of the Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande.
Pirlo’s first asset is probably time: his aura will undoubtedly give him more the right to make mistakes than others. As such, the warm welcome from the fans at the start and the first glowing comments from the players do not disappoint. His first weeks as a coach were devoted to dialogue, especially with “senators” Chiellini, Bonucci and Buffon, whose relationship has never been fluid with Sarri, according to the press. His goal ? “Bring back to Juventus some of the enthusiasm that has been lacking in recent times” and “bring back the DNA of work and sacrifice”, said the 41-year-old coach, who has enlisted the services of Igor Tudor, a former bianconero player who already has a few years of coaching.
For ex-Italian coach Marcello Lippi, Pirlo has the advantage of being able to discuss as a “colleague” with executives like Cristiano Ronaldo, a bit like “Zizou” at the beginning: “Zidane did not bring technical or tactical innovations (…). He brought serenity and put the champions in ideal conditions to express himself, “Lippi told the weekly Sportweek.
Pirlo, who was mainly a TV consultant since the end of his career in the United States in 2017, is also expected on the (beautiful) game. Fans hope that the promises of offensive play, never realized with Maurizio Sarri, will finally be kept with the “Maestro”. In a role of English manager, he has a say during the transfer window. With a desire to rejuvenate an aging workforce where several thirty-something have not been selected (Higuain, Matuidi, after Pjanic). There remains the question, still unresolved, of the new center-forward, with ongoing discussions with Luis Suarez or Edin Dzeko. Coach Pirlo, who formally validated his diploma on Monday, will quickly pass on the grill: after the opening against Sampdoria on Sunday, Juve will move to Roma from the second day before receiving Napoli in the wake.
The goal, he knows it: a tenth consecutive scudetto for Juve, champion without interruption since 2012 with three different coaches: Conte, Allegri, Sarri. A series that Pirlo had started as a player (4 titles from 2012 to 2015). “It’s Juve, it’s normal to have to win. It was the case as a player, it will also be as a coach,” he said on Sunday, after the friendly victory of Juventus against Novara (5-0). With the encouragement of Francesco Totti: “He is a man of gold, and I hope he will get there (…). Andrea will have to do Pirlo, that is to say to be above of the lot, including on the bench. “