You listening, Chelsea? Allegri ‘not looking for a year off’

Matt Stead

Massimiliano Allegri emphasised his hope to be managing a team next season after his final home game as Juventus boss ended in a 1-1 draw with Atalanta.

Two days on from announcing Allegri would be leaving his position at the end of the season, the Serie A champions claimed a point in their penultimate match of 2018-19 thanks to substitute Mario Mandzukic’s late equaliser.

Mandzukic levelled in the 80th minute, cancelling out Josip Ilicic’s first-half goal, before the hosts were reduced to 10 men in stoppage time when Federico Bernadeschi was shown a straight red card for a foul on Musa Barrow.

As well as Allegri, it was a final home outing with Juventus for retiring defender Andrea Barzagli.

Allegri was quoted by as telling Sky Sport Italia when asked about taking a sabbatical after leaving Juventus: “I am not particularly looking for a year off.

“I’ll only take a sabbatical if I have to, but otherwise the idea is to find a project that convinces me. Life is full of surprises and you have to be ready for anything.”

Allegri is departing Juventus as one of the best available managers in football, with the recently-secured Scudetto giving him a perfect record on that front of five triumphs in five seasons since taking charge.

His trophy haul with the club also includes four Coppa Italia titles, but no Champions League crown, with the Turin giants, beaten finalists in 2015 and 2017, having been eliminated in the last eight for a second successive year this term.

Allegri, whose contract had been set to run until the summer of 2020, said: “I spoke to the president (Andrea Agnelli) after Ajax (knocked Juventus out of the Champions League) and we had the plans to continue, but over the last six weeks or so we all came together and reached the same conclusion.

“We never got to contracts or anything like that, but I realised that for the good of Juventus, it was right to move on and change.

“Otherwise we’d run the risk of reaching September or October next season and hit problems, so it was best to leave on a high.

“I was told on Friday morning. When I left the meeting on Thursday evening, I knew that I was no longer the Juventus coach. I wasn’t told, I just knew.”

Chelsea feels like a natural fit. We can definitely see him being hounded out of Stamford Bridge by February 2020. He just so happens to be fifth-favourite to replace Maurizio Sarri.