Juventus’ decision to hand the coaching reigns to untried Andrea Pirlo promises to make this season’s Serie A title race one of the most open in years with a queue of clubs waiting to pounce should the champions’ remarkable gamble backfire.
The Turin side will be bidding for a 10th successive Serie A title this season, which kicks off on Saturday, but will do so under the leadership of a man who, for all his undoubted ability as a player, has never coached at senior level before.
Pirlo, who makes his debut at home to Sampdoria on Sunday, only received his official badge on Monday after presenting his thesis at the Italian federation’s coaching school in Florence and it remains to be seen how he will adapt to the new role.
“I’m the Juventus coach and it’s natural that anyone who comes here must win,” said Pirlo after a pre-season friendly against Novara. “I know I have to win, it was like that as a player and it will be like that as a coach.”
There are further question marks over Juventus, including the way in which they staggered over the finish line last season, winning only two of their last eight matches, and their dependence on Cristiano Ronaldo.