Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri has been diagnosed with pneumonia, the Serie A champions have confirmed, and his status for the club's league opener is unknown.

Marco Tardelli concedes Champions League elimination to Lyon tonight would be ‘a disaster,’ but still not enough for Juventus to fire Maurizio Sarri.

The Bianconeri have a 1-0 first leg defeat to overturn in tonight’s Round of 16 clash, which kicks off at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

“Elimination from the Round of 16 would be a sporting disaster for everyone, not just Sarri,” Tardelli told La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

“However, it’d still be stupid to change the coach. Sarri won the Scudetto with a squad that was not suited to him and therefore deserves a second chance.

“Sarri won. He didn’t win in the Sarri style, with the quality of approach of a Pep Guardiola, but he won. Let’s not forget his team was ‘asymmetrical’ and I am curious to see how he’ll do with players that he chose.”


The former Napoli and Chelsea coach also managed to get Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala to work together.

“Juve are so fortunate that Dybala remained because selling him would’ve been a huge mistake,” added former Italy U-21 coach Tardelli.

“Perhaps Ronaldo’s presence took something away from Sarri but gave so much to Juve. It’s not easy to change the role to a centre-forward when you are 35 years old.”

There are reports Juventus hired Andrea Pirlo for the Under-23 team in Serie C so that he could be groomed to replace Sarri in the main job.

“Andrea was a coach already when he was on the field in my Under-21 side. He can be a top level coach, but there’s no rush and he mustn’t risk ruining it. Juve might be an ideal club who would ‘protect’ him, but I don’t know if this is the right moment to start from there.”

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