By David Williams
Aaron Ramsey has been offered a route towards more regular starts in Italy after Juventus appointed Andrea Pirlo as their manager following the sacking of Maurizio Sarri.
Former Italy and Juve midfielder Pirlo is a stated admirer of Ramsey and the expectation is that the Wales international will now move from being a peripheral influence in Turin to a central performer.
Since moving to Italy from Arsenal a year ago, Ramsey has been among Juve’s substitutes more often than he has begun games and has rarely been given an extended run of starts.
Under Sarri, the 29-year-old – who will be a vital figure for Wales again in next year’s delayed Euro 2020 finals – was also repeatedly linked with moves away from Italy to both Tottenham and Chelsea.
But Pirlo’s arrival could now signal a change in Ramsey’s status at the club at the same time as Gareth Bale’s time troubled spell at Real Madrid appears to be coming to a head.
Juventus acted swiftly as Sarri, 61, paid the price for their Champions League exit at the hands of Lyon on Friday night, with Pirlo replacing him on a two-year contract.
The 41-year-old, who made 164 appearances for the club between 2011 and 2015, was only named as Juventus Under-23s manager 10 days ago but gets an immediate promotion.
A club statement read: “Today begins a new chapter of his career in the world of football.
“As it was said about a week ago: from Maestro to Mister.
“From today he will be the coach for the Juventus people, as the club has decided to entrust him with the technical leadership of the first team, after having already selected him for Juventus Under-23.
“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.”
Former Chelsea boss Sarri, 61, had led Juventus to the Serie A title in his first season at the club but the away goals exit to Lyon on Friday night proved fatal.
Ramsey again started from the bench but came on after an hour, although he was unable to help Juve find the goal they needed.
A club statement read: “Juventus announce that Maurizio Sarri has been relieved of his post as coach of the first team.
“The club would like to thank the coach for writing a new page in Juventus history by winning a ninth consecutive Scudetto, the culmination of a personal journey that saw him move through every level of Italian football.”
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice against Lyon but Memphis Depay’s penalty was crucial to lead the French side to a surprise victory. Juve lost four of the 12 matches since the restart before their exit from Europe.
Following his sacking by Chelsea at the end of the 2018-19 season, former banker Sarri succeeded Massimiliano Allegri in Turin and opened his reign with a 14-game unbeaten run in Serie A, a campaign which featured stronger challenges from Inter Milan and Lazio.