It was just a week ago that Andrea Pirlo was brought back by Juventus to be the club's under-23 coach. So much for that.
On the same day that the club fired Maurizio Sarri, Juventus tabbed Pirlo to take over as its new manager. Pirlo, an Italy national team and club legend, has no previous managerial experience, and he's signed a two-year deal to lead the Bianconeri through 2022.
Serie A success won't be enough for the club's gamble to be validated, given that it's won nine straight domestic titles, and the last two have been followed by managers hitting the exit. Champions League success is the ultimate goal, and since Cristiano Ronaldo was acquired from Real Madrid two years ago to help Juventus return to Europe's summit, its Champions League performances have ended in a quarterfinal exit under Massimiliano Allegri and a last-16 exit under Sarri.
"Today's choice is based on the belief that Pirlo has what it takes to lead from his debut on the bench, an expert and talented squad to pursue new successes," the club wrote in an unattributed statement.
There's no questioning Pirlo's credentials as a player. The 2006 World Cup champion won six Serie A titles and two Champions League titles as a player, the latter achievement coming as a member of AC Milan. He finished his playing career in MLS with New York City FC alongside Frank Lampard, who now manages Chelsea–and coincidentally also followed Sarri's footsteps after the Italian was let go.
Whether he can replicate his success on the field as a manager on the sideline remains to be seen and is the question everyone in Turin will be asking for the next year. Juventus will surely be hoping he can replicate what Zinedine Zidane did for Real Madrid in jumping to the senior team and finding immediate European success–though Zidane did spend time coaching Real's Castilla team first.