Maurizio Sarri is back in Italy after a trying year abroad.
Having led Chelsea to a Champions League spot and a European title, the 60-year-old returned home Sunday to become the next Juventus manager, the club announced.
The Old Lady appointed Sarri on a three-year contract after reportedly paying £5 million in compensation to the Blues. He had two years remaining on his deal with the Premier League side.
Sarri replaces Massimiliano Allegri, who left Juventus by mutual consent after winning five consecutive Serie A titles.
Formerly the manager of Napoli, Juventus’ most consistent rival over the past few years, Sarri has crossed a treacherous divide. He famously flipped off Juventus supporters on the way to Allianz Stadium during the 2017-18 campaign.
That season, Sarri led Napoli to a club-record 91 points, but it wasn’t enough to swing the title in their favor.
Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne previously said he’d consider a move by Sarri to Juventus an act of betrayal, adding that he hoped his former mentor would change his mind.
But Sarri didn’t. The opportunity to coach Juventus, the eight-time defending Serie A champions, was too great to give up, even for someone born and bred in Naples.
Sarri has come a long way from his days as a banker. He quit his professional career to take a coaching job in amateuer football in the 1990s. After leading several teams to promotion in the lower tiers, Sarri earned his big break at Empoli, guiding the Tuscans to Serie A in 2013-14.
Napoli moved quickly to hire him in 2015 after the departure of Rafa Benitez, and it paid off. Sarri oversaw the most striking football on the peninsula, winning plaudits from fellow managers, including Pep Guardiola, for his team’s attractive style of play.
But he took Napoli as far as he could, and left Italy for the first time in 2018, succeeding countryman Antonio Conte as Chelsea boss. His first few months were rocky – large sections of the Stamford Bridge crowd called for his sacking – but the end result was palatable. Chelsea finished in third place in the Premier League and hammered Arsenal in the Europa League to give Sarri his first piece of silverware.