Former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has been sacked by Juventus, 12 months into a three-year contract he signed after leaving the Blues, also after just a year at the helm.
Despite guiding Juve to their ninth consecutive Serie A title, Sarri failed to make headway in the Champions League, his side dropping out at the last-16 stage, while his charges suffered an end-of-season slump that saw them just one point clear of Inter at the top of the table.
Club president Andrea Agnelli described the season as “bittersweet”, and took aim at Juventus’ “disappointing” European performances. Champions League success was seen as a must for the club following their acquisition of global superstar Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2018, and Sarri has paid the price for Juve’s failure to land silverware away from the domestic competition.
Blues fans will remember the 61-year-old as an eccentric figure at Stamford Bridge. He drew scorn and amusement alike for his habit of sucking unlit cigarette butts on the touchlines, due to the UK’s nationwide stadium ban on smoking.
A number of Chelsea players were reportedly unhappy with the number of cigarettes he was able to get through in training, with some reporters suggesting he should swap the cigarettes for snus instead, a smoke-free tobacco substitute that is hugely popular in Scandinavia. Indeed, a number of sites now offer snus in the UK, and have become increasingly popular with footballers and coaches alike as an alternative to smoking.
Sarri’s reign at Stamford Bridge came to an end last year after landing the Europa League for the Blues, with the club releasing him from the final two years of his contract after he expressed a desire to return to Italy to take charge of Juventus and be close to his elderly parents. It’s unclear what lies in store next for the decorated manager.