Massimiliano Allegri

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Allegri to leave Juventus

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Massimiliano Allegri will be stepping down as the head coach of Juventus.

Allegri, 51, has won five-straight Serie A titles with Juve but has come up short in the UEFA Champions League, reaching the final in 2014-15 and 2016-17 but lost to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.

In a brief statement on their website, Juve confirmed that Allegri “will not be on the Juventus bench for the 2019-2020 season” and have called a press conference for Saturday where Allegri will speak alongside club president Andrea Agnelli.

The former Sassuolo, Cagliari and AC Milan manager has enjoyed a glittering spell in charge of Juve, winning five league titles and four Italian cups with a record-breaking four-straight domestic doubles from 2014 to 2018, but his aim was to lead Juve to their first UCL title since 1995-96. He came up just short in that quest, but with Juve spending wisely and building off their veteran defensive base, they have been a mainstay in Europe’s elite over the last six years and their model has been admired.

With Cristiano Ronaldo now on board, Juve spent big to try and clinch UCL glory this season but they were knocked out of the competition by upstarts Ajax at the quarterfinal stage.

Allegri didn’t exactly cover himself in glory when it came to the recent comments regarding Juventus striker Moise Kean being subjected to racist abuse in a Serie A game, and with the pressure building on him following Champions League failure, now seems like a natural time to part.

What next for Allegri?

He has been linked with the biggest jobs in Europe in the past, with Manchester United and Arsenal long-time admirers of the no-nonsense Italian coach. It remains to be seen where he will land but after his success at Juve there’s no doubt he won’t end up at one of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Allegri asks for lifetime bans after Kean racially abused

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Leonardo Bonucci didn’t exactly have his teammate’s back after Moise Kean was racially jeered following a goal in Juventus’ defeat of Cagliari.

Kean, who is black, scored an 85th minute goal to give the Serie A leaders a 2-0 lead.

The player was then racially abused by fans, with teammate Blaise Matuidi understandably offended and angry. And whereas Juve manager Max Allegri said fans needed to be banned for life when caught doing such things, Bonucci thinks blame lies on both side.

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His comments are stunning stuff but also not out of character with the backwards racial incidents sometimes on display in Italian football. From Football-Italia:

“Kean knows that when he scores a goal, he has to focus on celebrating with his teammates. He knows he could’ve done something differently too,” Bonucci told Sky Sport Italia.

“There were racist jeers after the goal, Blaise heard it and was angered. I think the blame is 50-50, because Moise shouldn’t have done that and the Curva should not have reacted that way.”

50-50? We have to hope something’s been lost in translation.

Allegri did say that Kean shouldn’t have provoked the fans, but said, “That, of course, does not mean the idiots in the crowd and the way they reacted should be justified.”

Now you might agree, in a sense, that Kean provoked angry comments. But this wasn’t him being called a simple profane name or shouted that he stinks; There’s no excuse for tossing racial barbs in 2019. No excuse.

Kean, for what it’s worth, is understandably not in an apologetic mood, taking a page from Raheem Sterling.

 

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The best way to respond to racism 🦍 #notoracism 🚫

A post shared by K M B 9 🦍 (@moise_kean) on

To recap: In Bonucci’s book, spreading your arms on the touch line after being booed and getting monkey chants is cause enough to hear racial slurs. Cool, cool.

Can you imagine if Gareth Southgate or one of Sterling’s white English teammates hedged in their criticism of racial attacks on Sterling over the international break? Hardly, which is a true indictment on Bonucci and also something much larger than him.

See the goal after a description of the abuse, which came after Kean was booed all night.

Guardiola rips reports linking him to Juventus

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Pep Guardiola dismissed reports that he’ll be joining Juventus next season.

The Manchester City boss has won titles in England, Germany, and Spain, and there’s plenty of pressure on Max Allegri.

[ MORE: Piatek scores again ]

And Guardiola is upset by the rumors, given that he has two years left on his contract and Juve very much has a manager right now to go with a 19-point lead in Serie A.

“Why when someone says something on Twitter do the big newspapers say that for the next four years Pep is going to Juventus? I don’t understand why the people saying I am going to Juventus don’t try to call the club or call myself or call my agent or Juventus or Massimiliano Allegri. I feel so sorry for Massimiliano.”

Juventus is home this week in the UEFA Champions League and needs to overcome a 2-0 deficit to stingy Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.

Still, it’s hilarious that Allegri’s seat is hot even as Cristiano Ronaldo and Juve face dismissal from the UCL; Juve has a 19-point table lead having played one more match than Napoli.

Guardiola says he’ll be with City for at least two more seasons.

“Except if they sack me,” he said. “Then after, I go home. But if Manchester City want me I will stay for two more years and hopefully another one. I am not going to go to Juventus in the next two years.”

Juve: ‘No use crying over spilt milk’ after ‘ugly’ first leg loss

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Max Allegri and Juventus look set to fall short of a UEFA Champions League title again, and this time are staring down an exit before the quarterfinals.

[ MORE: Match recap ]

The club has two things going for it after a 2-0 first leg loss to Atletico Madrid in Spain: The 90 minutes or more of the second leg, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The player has already made his feelings known by setting the second leg stage with a very Patrick Roy (for you hockey fans out there) title rip.

Allegri is a bit more diplomatic, ripping Juve’s “ugly” second half at the Wanda Metropolitano but also demanding the club move past it immediately. From Football-Italia.net:

“Now we have the chance to turn this around, we must have faith, we’ll have some players back and there’s no point crying over spilt milk. We knew it was going to be tough, that Atletico Madrid force you to play badly, with a slow tempo. We moved the ball quicker in the first half, but not in the second.

“We got the approach wrong in the second half. It’s that simple. These things can happen, there will be great disappointment after this 2-0, but we can turn it around. It won’t be easy, we need a great second leg, but it can be done and we must have faith.”

And there’s Ronaldo, Dybala, and a number of world class players on his side. An inspired, spiteful Ronaldo is one thing, but take into account the man clearly carries his legacy on his hip pocket and the Portuguese hero is going to be flying come March 12 in Turin.

Ronaldo may be tiring as Juve go on record march

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Cristiano Ronaldo is helping Juventus break records but it could be taking a toll on the Portugal star.

Ronaldo has started all but one of Juve’s 23 games this season, having missed only the first Champions League match against Young Boys through suspension following his first-ever red card in the competition.

The 33-year-old forward has scored 12 goals since leaving Real Madrid in the offseason, despite being the subject of a rape allegation in the United States.

Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in Nevada in September claiming Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. Police reopened an investigation into the allegation at her request. The Juve player has denied any wrongdoing.

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Ronaldo’s form in front of goal has dipped in recent games, failing to score in open play in four matches although he did convert a penalty in the Turin derby on Dec. 15.

He went close on several occasions in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Roma and was denied by goalkeeper Robin Olsen. Ronaldo also produced some trademark fancy footwork to set up a goal for Douglas Costa that was ruled out following a video review.

However, the Portugal great looked tired at times and Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri has said he will give the five-time World Player of the Year a rest by sitting out one of the upcoming matches before the winter break, against Atalanta or Sampdoria.

Juve can afford to sideline him after the victory over Roma clinched the unofficial winter title with two matches to go before the halfway point of the season is reached.

Allegri’s side, seemingly unstoppable as it seeks an eighth successive Serie A title, has an eight-point lead over second-placed Napoli and a 16-point advantage over Inter Milan in third.

Juve has won 16 of 17 league matches, dropping points only in a surprise draw against Genoa.

The club’s haul of 49 points has broken its own Italian record and set a record for the top five leagues in Europe.

Still, Juve appears not to have hit top gear. It is traditionally stronger in the second half of the season and appeared to be conserving energy in its past three matches, winning each 1-0.

MISFIRING FORWARDS

Napoli’s top strikers have been misfiring.

Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens have seven Serie A goals apiece this season but neither has scored in five league matches since a 5-1 win over Empoli on Nov. 2.

Both hit the woodwork in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Spal when defender Raul Albiol was on target.

Another Napoli forward, Jose Callejon, has failed to score this season in 20 matches in all competitions.

Mertens was the club’s top marksman last term with 18 league goals.

PIATEK POWER

Genoa forward Krzysztof Piatek has regained his scoring touch.

He netted nine goals in his opening seven league matches, plus four in his first game for the club in the Italian Cup, but the Poland international then failed to hit the target in five games before breaking his drought last month.

Piatek struck again in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Atalanta to take his tally to six in as many matches in all competitions. However, he was dismayed that another effort was given as a Rafael Toloi own goal.

“I am very happy with the great Genoa victory,” he wrote on Instagram. “But I celebrated less because as soon I got to the locker room I heard the news that my first goal was an own goal. I feel that it is in every respect a double and that Serie A should go back on its decision.”

Piatek tops the scoring charts with 13 league goals, two more than Ronaldo. No player in Europe’s top leagues has netted more domestically.

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