Juventus: Massimiliano Allegri returns as manager

Allegri returns to the Allianz Stadium having won 11 major trophies from between 2014 and 2019

Juventus have confirmed that Massimiliano Allegri has returned to club for his second stint as manager of the club.

Allegri has returned to the Turin based outfit on a €9m (£7.7m)-a-year deal, just two years after he left the club following a trophy-laiden first spell in charge of the club.

Allegri, 53, led Le Zebre to two Champions League finals, he also went onto win four Coppa Italia titles from 2014 to 2019 and left the club after defending the Serie A title for the fifth year in a row.

Allegri was understood to be the favourite to fill the vacant position at Real Madrid following Zinedine Zidane’s departure, but Antonio Conte, who guided Inter Milan to the Serie A title last season, is now believed to be a serious contender to replace Zidane at the Santiago Bernabéu.

The appointment comes following the departure of Pirlo earlier on Friday, with the 42-year-old having overseen Juve missing out on the Italian top-flight title for the first time in a decade.

Andrea Pirlo left the Allianz Stadium on Friday morning

Upon Allegri’s return to the Allianz Stadium, Juventus said:

“Massimiliano Allegri is the Juventus manager once more. Allegri finds a bench that he knows very well, a club that he loves and that loves him back, as today a new journey begins together, towards new goals.

“What he achieved in his first adventure at Juventus are engraved in the club’s history: five Scudetti, to the four-consecutive doubles, coupled with the Coppa Italia and to the two Super Cups, reaching two Champions League finals in just three seasons, in what were epic feats both in Italy and in Europe.

“We said goodbye two years ago with the message, “History Alone”, the message on the back of the shirt given to Massimiliano Allegri by President Andrea Agnelli with an embrace and a shirt, on which in just two words encapsulated Allegri’s experience at Juve.

“The beauty of the story, however, is that it never stops. And in football, this means a concept that we have ingrained in our DNA: the best victory is the next one. Always.

“We said goodbye two years ago with the message, “History Alone”, the message on the back of the shirt given to Massimiliano Allegri by President Andrea Agnelli with an embrace and a shirt, on which in just two words encapsulated Allegri’s experience at Juve.

“The beauty of the story, however, is that it never stops. And in football, this means a concept that we have ingrained in our DNA: the best victory is the next one. Always.

“And now we are ready to begin again with Allegri, to build our future together; with his enormous professionalism, his moral strength, with the brilliant ideas of a coach capable of shuffling the cards, both on and off the pitch. With his smile, a sort of “signature”. With his way of understanding football and life with simplicity, with his desire to play things down and with the commitment to enjoy every beautiful moment that being at Juventus can give and will give.”

Juventus: Andrea Pirlo sacked as head coach of La Vecchia Signora

Andrea Pirlo has been released of his managerial duty at the Allianz Stadium. Photo by Juventus FC

Juventus have confirmed that Andrea Pirlo has been sacked as head coach.

The Turin giants are close to re-appointing Massimiliano Allegri as their head coach to replace Pirlo, with the 53-year-old expected to re-sign within the next 24 hours.

Pirlo took over the reins from Maurizo Sarri last August and led Juve to the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana but they ended the Serie A season in fourth place, meaning that I Bianconeri missed out on the Italian top-flight title for the first time in a decade to Inter Milan, and they rescued a spot in next season’s Champions League on the final day of the 2020/21 campaign.

Juve published the following message to Pirlo following his departure from the Allianz Stadium:

“Thank you, Andrea.”

“These are the first words that all of us need to say at the end of this special experience together. A few months ago, Andrea Pirlo, an icon on world football, began his new adventure, his first as a coach.

“To do this, first of all, it takes courage, as well as awareness of one’s own means, especially in a period marked by thousands of difficulties, with the world forced by the pandemic to reinvent its own rules day after day.

“Pirlo has just begun the first steps of what will no doubt become a brilliant career as a coach. An adventure of transformation, seeking, and often managing, to bring his ideas and his experience as a champion on the pitch from the “other side” of the fence.

“And since in football, what counts are the victories, let’s remember them: in the space of a few short months Pirlo’s Juve has raised two trophies: The Italian Supercup and the Coppa Italia. And he, as coach, brought home brilliant victories on the most prestigious of fields, from San Siro to Camp Nou.

“For all this, for the courage, the dedication, the passion with which he demonstrated every day, our thanks go to the Maestro, the Coach and to Andrea, that really comes from the heart. As well as our good luck for the future that will surely be a wonderful one.”

Between 2011 and 2015, Pirlo played 164 times across all competitions for Juventus, scoring 19 goals and he helped them win four Serie A titles during his time in Turin

The 42-year-old, who won seven major titles for Juventus as a player from 2011 to 2015, was originally named the club’s U23 manager on 31 July 2020, before taking over the role as first-team head coach in early August.

The 2006 World Cup winner’s Juventus side headed into the final day of the campaign facing the prospect of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since the 2011/12 season, but victory over Bologna and Napoli’s failure to beat Hellas Verona, saw Pirlo’s side scrape into fourth place.

Juventus were knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 phase by Porto, meaning that for the second time in successive seasons Juve were eliminated early from European competition and this did not help the former Italy international’s cause.

Massimiliano Allegri won five consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus before departing the Old Lady in the summer of 2019

In the meantime, Allegri is expected to return to the Turin giants on a €9m (£7.7m)-a-year deal, just two years after he left the club.

Allegri led Le Zebre to two Champions League finals, he also defended the Serie A title for five years in a row during his time at the club and Juve also went onto win four Coppa Italia titles from 2014 to 2019.

Pirlo’s departure from Juventus comes with managerial changes going on at some of Europe’s leading clubs following the end of their seasons.

Lazio: Manager Simone Inzaghi leaves Rome based outfit after five-years at the helm

Simone Inzaghi led Lazio to one Coppa Italia title and two Italian supercups during his five-year stay at the Stadio Olimpico

Lazio have announced that manager Simone Inzaghi has stepped down as manager following five-years in charge of I Biancocelesti.

The Italian giants issued an abrupt, 32-word statement confirming that Simone Inzaghi, 45, will not be continuing his affiliation with the club.

The Rome based oufit released the statement on Thursday evening, and they decided to not even use their manager’s name whilst getting their message across.

Inzaghi has been laboriously tipped to join Serie A champions Inter Milan, after the sudden departure of Antonio Conte on Wednesday.

Lazio have communicated through their official channels that Simone Inzaghi is not continuing as manager of the two-time Italian champions

In an official Statement Lazio said: “We respect the rethinking of a coach and, first of all, of a player who for many years has linked his name to the Lazio family and to the many Biancocelesti successes”.

Le Aquile did not confirm what Inzaghi’s next move would be, or whether he would continue in the football management industry.

Inzaghi’s deal with the club was set to run out at the end of next month, but in the last week it appeared that an agreement was reached for Inzaghi to continue as Lazio manager until the 30 June 2024.

Now, Lazio stand firm on the fact that they respect Inzaghi’s “rethinking”, suggesting the manager has after all received offers from elsewhere.

Sheffield United: former Watford and Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic named as Blades manager

Slavisa Jokanovic has won promotion to the Premier League with Watford (during the 2014/15 campaign) and Fulham (during the 2017/2018 campaign)

Sheffield United have named former Watford and Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic as their new manager on a three-year deal.

The 52-year-old will leave his position at Qatar Stars League side Al-Gharafa to take over at Bramall Lane ahead of the 2021/2022 season.

The Blades will play in the Championship next term, after finishing rock bottom of the Premier League.

Jokanovic led both the Hornets and Fulham to promotion to the top flight in his previous stints in England.

The Serbian replaces Chris Wilder, who had led the club from League One to the Premier League before leaving the club by mutual consent in March, to become the south Yorkshire club’s first overseas manager.

The Blades concluded the season under the caretaker charge of Paul Heckingbottom and finished 16 points adrift of safety in a campaign in which they lost 29 of their 38 Premier League games.

“I’m honoured to become the manager of this historic football club,” Jokanovic said on the clubs website.

“I’m excited to work in English football again and I’m looking forward to getting started with the players and staff, as well as meeting our passionate, loyal supporters as we prepare for the challenge in the Championship.

“I want to assure our amazing fans that we’re fully committed to helping the team achieve its goals and make you feel proud.”

Jokanovic took Watford up in 2015 but was sacked in June.

He then took Fulham to the Premier League in May 2018 but was dismissed in November with the club rooted to the bottom of the league and was replaced by Claudio Ranieri.

His two-year deal with Al-Gharafa runs out at the end of next month.

Real Madrid: Manager Zinedine Zidane steps down from role

Zinedine Zidane won two La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues as Real Madrid boss

Real Madrid have confirmed that Zinedine Zidane has stepped down as head coach for the second time.

The Frenchman has brought his second spell in charge of the La Liga side to an end, he led them to two league titles and three Champions League triumphs since 2015.

Zidane informed club directors and the first-team squad of his decision on Wednesday and his exit was finalised a day later at Real’s Valdebebas training complex.

His departure comes after Los Merengues narrowly lost out on the league title to local rivals Atletico Madrid at the weekend. Real Madrid finished in second place, just two points shy of Atletico and were knocked out of this years Champions League at the semi-final stage and they were also knocked out at the round of 32 in the Copa del Rey. This is the first time in 11 years that Real have gone without winning any silverware.

Atletico Madrid won their first La Liga title since 2014 at the weekend, leapfrogging Real on the final day

Away from the playing area, Real were one of the key components behind the failed Super League breakaway with the club president, Florentino Perez, repeatedly defending the plan and involved in a war of words with Uefa, which shows no sign of slowing.

In an official statement the club said: “It is now time to respect his decision and show him our appreciation for his professionalism, dedication and passion in all these years, and for what his figure represents for Real Madrid.

“Zidane is one of the great myths of Real Madrid and his legend goes beyond what he has been as a coach and player of our club. He knows that he is at the heart of Real Madrid and that Real Madrid is and will always be his home.”

Inter Milan: Antonio Conte parts ways with Nerazzurri by Mutual Consent

Antonio Conte led Inter Milan to their first Serie A title since 2008. Photo by Sky Sports

Antonio Conte has left the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza by Mutual consent, with Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi likely to replace him as head coach of the Serie A winners.

Conte has agreed a deal with the clubs owners which will see paid €7m (£6m) for the last year of his deal.

The former Juventus and Chelsea boss guided Inter to their first Serie A title in over a decade, however he was involved in a dispute with La Beneamata’s owners after they suggested a downsizing of his  Internazionale squad.

Conte is departing the Italian champions following a dispute with the clubs owners

Inter chairman Steven Zhang reportedly asked Conte to cut his wage bill by 15 to 20 per cent and quite possibly sell players worth up to £70m during this summer’s transfer window.

Zhang arrived at Inter’s headquarters to continue talks with senior staff on Wednesday morning.

Current Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi could replace Conte at the Lombardy based outfit

Conte was keen to keep hold of up to eight players, who he sees as ‘untouchables’ which include Milan Skrinar, Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez.

Lukaky is happy at Inter, however Conte’s departure, coupled with the club needing to cut costs due to their financial issues, has cast doubt over his status at the club.

Could Lukaku follow Conte out of Inter Milan?

The club’s strategy, could include the sale of one of the club’s main players and shift the focus on developing young talent within the sides academy.

Lazio manager Inzaghi is waiting in the wings to replace Conte at the San Siro. The former Italy striker has been in charge of the Rome club since 2016 and led them to a sixth-place finish this season, finishing six points above ferocious local rivals Roma.

England Cricket: Ben Foakes out, Haseeb Hameed and Sam Billings called into hosts’ squad for Test Series against New Zealand

Ben Foakes (left) averages 31.53 in his eight England Tests, Haseeb Hameed (centre) has two fifties in his three Tests and Sam Billings (right) is yet to receive a cap at Test level. Photo by BBC Sport

England wicketkeeper Ben Foakes will miss the two Tests against New Zealand in June after picking up a hamstring injury, whilst opener Haseeb Hameed and keeper Sam Billings have both been included in England’s squad.

Foakes, who plays for Surrey, slipped in the dressing room following their County Championship match against Middlesex on Sunday.

Nottinghamshire’s Hameed played three Tests in 2016, during England’s tour of India before several inclined years but has impressed for his county so far this season.

Kent’s Billings is a regular in the limited-overs sides but remains uncapped at Test level.

England face New Zealand in two Tests, with the first Test starting on 2 June at Lord’s, followed by the second Test on 10 June at Edgbaston.

Foakes’ injury means that Gloucestershire’s James Bracey is expected to make his Test debut as England’s wicketkeeper at Lord’s a week on Wednesday.

Bracey, 24, was acting as both the keeping and batting reserve in the initial 15-man squad, but with him now more than likely to be in the starting eleven, Chris Silverwood’s side required cover for both.

Foakes, 28, is expected to be out of action for at least three months and it means that he is yet to play a Test on home soil, having made a Test ton on debut in Sri Lanka in 2018 before playing in the West Indies and India.

England’s next Test series will be against India, which commences on 4 August.

Hameed, 24, became the youngest debutant to open for England in a Test in the first match against India at Rajkot in November 2016, when aged just 19.

He scored his maiden Test fifty in that game and a second half-century in the second innings of the third Test, despite breaking his finger in the first innings, which forced him to miss the rest of the tour.

He later struggled at Lancashire, before signing for Nottinghamshire for the 2020 season.

This year Hameed has scored 474 runs at an average of 52.66 in the County Championship, including back-to-back centuries in the same match against Worcestershire last month.

Kent captain Billings, 29, has played 22 one-day internationals and 30 Twenty20 internationals for England since making his debut in 2015.

He has six first-class hundreds, however Billings has played only one County Championship match for Kent so far this campaign, scoring just 11 runs against Glamorgan earlier this month.

Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow were all omitted, having only recently returned from the cancelled Indian Premier League.

Ben Stokes (broken finger) and Jofra Archer (elbow) are both injury absentees.

Updated England Squad: Joe Root (Yorkshire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Sam Billings (Kent), James Bracey (Gloucestershire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Zak Crawley (Kent), Haseeb Hameed (Nottinghamshire), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Craig Overton (Somerset), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).

European Super League: UEFA opens proceedings against Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid over breakaway league plan

Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona have not rejected the ESL. Photo by BBC Sport

Uefa has opened disciplinary proceedings against Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid over their involvement in the planned European Super League.

The clubs were part of the 12 ‘founding’ members of the breakaway league, which later fell apart.

The other nine clubs abandoned the project but Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid have declined to follow suit.

Uefa said proceedings had been opened against the three “for a potential violation of Uefa’s legal framework”.

In an official statement released on Tuesday, Uefa said: “Following an investigation conducted by Uefa ethics and disciplinary inspectors in connection with the so-called ‘Super League’ project, disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus for a potential violation of Uefa’s legal framework.

“Further information will be made available in due course.”

The other nine clubs who were set to be involved in the breakaway league – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid – have been penalised by European football’s governing body for their association with the ESL.

They have agreed to make a combined 15m euro (£13.4m) goodwill contribution to benefit children’s and grassroots football across Europe.

They will also have 5% of Uefa competition revenues withheld for one season, starting in 2023-24, and this money will be redistributed, including in the UK.

Each has also committed to Uefa and its competitions, with the clubs facing fines of 100m euros (£86.9m) apiece if they seek to join an unauthorised competition in the future. They will be fined half that if they breach any other terms of the declaration.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who was appointed as chairman of the European Super League, said recently that the 12 clubs that agreed to take part in the project all having “binding contracts” and “cannot leave”

England name provisional squad for Euro 2020: Ben White, Ben Godfrey, Aaron Ramsdale and Sam Johnstone all included

Gareth Southgate has named his provisional squad for the summer’s European Championships

The uncapped quartet of Ben White, Ben Godfrey, Sam Johnstone and Aaron Ramsdale have been named in England’s 33-man provisional Euro 2020 squad, while Trent Alexander-Arnold is also included.

Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins is also named in the squad, however Leeds United’s Patrick Bamford misses out completely.

Gareth Southgate will name his final 26-man squad for the Euros on Tuesday, 1 June.

Leicester City midfielder James Maddison, Tottenham Hotspur defender Eric Dier and injured Burnley keeper Nick Pope are all left out of Southgate’s side.

One of the huge debates had been about Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was omitted completely from Southgate’s last squad in March.

With Atletico Madrid’s La Liga winner Kieran Trippier, Manchester City’s Premier League champion Kyle Walker and Chelsea’s Reece James also in the provisional squad, one of them is highly likely to miss out of Southgate’s final 26-man side.

Goalkeepers Ramsdale, of Sheffield United, and West Brom’s Johnstone, plus centre-backs Godfrey of Everton as well as Brighton’s White, are all hoping to win their first caps for their country, if they make the final cut next week.

Brighton’s Ben White, Everton’s Ben Godrey, West Brom’s Sam Johnstone and Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale are all vying for their first international caps been included in Southgate’s provisional squad for the Euros. Photo by BBC Sport

Two teenagers are included and they are; – Borussia Dortmund’s 17-year-old midfielder Jude Bellingham as well as Arsenal’s 19-year-old winger Bukayo Saka.

England come up against Croatia (Sunday, 13 June – 14:00 BST), Scotland (Friday, 18 June – 20:00) and the Czech Republic (Tuesday, 22 June – 20:00) in Group D with all of the Three Lions’ matches taking place at Wembley.

England’s provisional 33-man squad in full:

Germany: Hansi Flick to take over from Joachim Low after delayed Euro 2020

Hansi Flick has signed a contract with German national team, which expires in 2024

Departing Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick will take over from Joachim Low as Germany manager after this summer’s European Championships.

Low is stepping away from the role following the delayed Euro 2020, having been in charge of the Die Mannschaft since 2006.

Joachim Low is stepping down as Germany boss after 15 years at the helm. Photo by Sky Sports

Flick has signed a contract to be Germany manager until the summer of 2024.

“I am hugely excited, because I see the class of players, and especially young players, which we have in Germany,” said 56-year-old Flick.

Germany national team director Oliver Bierhoff added: “He was top of my wish list from the very start.”

Flick said in April that he was leaving Bayern at the end of the season and will be replaced by RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann.

Flick was Low’s assistant with Germany from 2006 to 2014, stepping down from the role after they won the World Cup in Brazil.

He joined Bayern as Niko Kovac’s assistant in the summer of 2019 and took over as interim boss when the former Croatia international was sacked the following November.

Flick then oversaw a dramatic upturn in fortunes, winning the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League in the 2019-20 season, earning him a permanent three-year contract.

Bayern also won the Club World Cup in February, Flick’s sixth trophy in his first 16 months in charge of the Bavarian giants.

However, this season he became frustrated with the lack of new signings and, despite holding onto the Bundesliga title, they were knocked out of the Champions League by Paris St-Germain at the quarter-final stage.