Massimiliano Allegri says Juventus do not need to change their style to see the best of Dusan Vlahovic, as the striker prepares to face former club Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia semi-finals.

However, Allegri did acknowledge the Bianconeri must improve their attacking returns after seeing nine Serie A outfits outscore them this season.

After winning the first leg 1-0 in Florence, Juventus, who have progressed from each of their last six Coppa Italia semi-finals, remain among the favourites for a sixth domestic cup triumph in eight seasons, having lifted the trophy in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2021.

The Bianconeri are, though, just the 10th-highest scorers in Serie A despite Vlahovic netting seven goals in 14 appearances in all competitions since his January arrival, having scored 20 in 24 games for his previous employers this term.

Ahead of the Old Lady's decisive cup meeting with Vlahovic's former club, Allegri was adamant Juve did not need to change to accommodate the Serb, but acknowledged improvements were needed.

"Absolutely not," he replied when asked if changes might benefit Vlahovic. "Vlahovic has played 14 games and scored seven goals.

"Right now, we can't play like we did in November or December, because the games weigh more. There is no chance to recover.

"We need to improve the tenth place in the ranking of goals scored, we need to be more concrete.

"In football there is one thing that remains old, but it still counts: the goal difference, which then leads you to win or lose the championships."

Allegri has reached the Coppa Italia final four times as Juventus manager, already more than any other Bianconeri manager in history. His only elimination before the competition's final came in 2018-19's quarter-finals, a 3-0 loss to Atalanta.

The 54-year-old lifted Italy's domestic cup on all four occasions where he reached the final, and says Juve's strong run will count for nothing if they fall short of winning the trophy.

Although he also emphasised the importance of a top-four league finish and said a semi-final win would not "turn around" the season, he noted that reaching a final was a "good goal".

"The Coppa Italia only counts if you win it," he added. "If you lose it, you have failed completely. As for the championship, Juve must now think about finishing in the top four. 

"In early January, no one would have expected Juventus to be five points clear of fifth [Roma] with five games to go. Now we have to be good at defending [against] them.

"We haven't won games in which we played well, we lacked that little bit more to make the leap forward. We have to work on this, and the next year will surely be better.

"Tomorrow's game does not make the season turn around, but it will allow us to go to the final and it would be a good goal."

Juventus have lost only one of their last 25 home games in the Coppa Italia (winning 20 and drawing four). Coincidentally, this was a defeat against Fiorentina in the 2014-15 semi-finals, when Mohamed Salah netted a brace for the Viola and Fernando Llorente scored for the Bianconeri.

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri acknowledged the Bianconeri's slim title hopes were over despite Dusan Vlahovic's dramatic late equaliser against Bologna.

The Serbian striker scored the 50th goal of his Serie A career five minutes into stoppage time to spare the blushes of the Turin giants, who were on course for an embarrassing loss despite Adama Soumaoro and Gary Medel receiving late red cards for Bologna after Marko Arnautovic's second-half opener.

The result marked the first time Juventus have failed to defeat Bologna since February 2016 and left Allegri's men eight points behind league leaders Milan with just five games remaining, as their hopes of a 10th Scudetto in 11 seasons faded.

Juventus failed to register a single shot on target during a dismal first-half showing, the fifth time they have done so during Allegri's first season back at the helm but first since facing Fiorentina in November.

The 54-year-old insisted after the draw that the Bianconeri were embroiled in a four-way battle for Champions League football rather than the title race, acknowledging his team needed to show more patience against a stubborn Bologna defence. 

"This year Juve is not fighting for the Scudetto," Allegri said. "We had gotten close to Inter, even until today, when we stopped. 

"In football, however, anything could happen. Reaching fourth place remains an important goal. I think Fiorentina have a good calendar and a direct match against us. Then there are also Lazio and Roma.

"We take one step at a time. In football you think one thing and another happens. We have to be calmer. The games last a long time and there is always time to win them."

Juventus hold a lead of six points over fifth-placed Roma in the Serie A table, having played one extra game ahead of the Giallorossi facing Napoli on Monday.

Allegri refused to criticise his team for a below-bar display, however, suggesting they would have lost the same game had it occurred at the start of the season.

"We managed to equalise a match that had become complicated after playing a bad first half," he added. "Immediately [after conceding] we hit the post and shot more on goal. 

"Lately we have conceded too many goals, we need to improve, but we would have lost these games at the beginning of the season. Let's look at the glass half full."

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci also rued the Old Lady's lack of patience when faced with breaking down their opponents, as Bologna avoided defeat at Juventus for the first time since September 2011.

"We tried to push and put pressure on after the equaliser," the 34-year-old said. "With more clarity we could also have scored the second goal, given their numerical inferiority. 

"It was a pity because three points could have given us so much."

With Juve seemingly out of the Serie A title race, their last hope of silverware this season is the Coppa Italia, in which they host Fiorentina on Wednesday after winning their semi-final first leg 1-0.

Massimiliano Allegri has told Juventus they require at least 10 points from their remaining six games to clinch a Champions League place as Dusan Vlahovic targets a landmark goal.

If Vlahovic scores against Bologna on Saturday, the former Fiorentina striker will reach 50 goals in his Serie A career at the age of 22 years and 78 days old.

In Italian top-flight history, only one foreign player has reached 50 at a younger age, with Alexandre Pato doing so with Milan at 21 years and 220 days.

That gives context to Serbian Vlahovic's performance to date, with five of his goals having come in his first nine league games for Juventus.

Juventus sit just six points behind league leaders Milan, having last had a shorter gap to top spot after matchday two, but a defeat to Inter two weeks ago has probably ended their title hopes.

This is why Allegri is focusing on making sure of a fourth-place finish. A five-point cushion over fifth-placed Roma suggests Juventus should achieve that objective, but Allegri is demanding sharp focus.

There have been disappointments in his reign to date, including a Champions League last-16 exit to Villarreal and a Supercoppa Italiana loss to Inter, so there will be no early celebrations from Juventus.

"Bologna drew at San Siro against Milan and won the last match [2-0 against Sampdoria]. We have to be careful," Allegri said, "there are six games left between now and the end of the championship.

"We still need 10 points to get into the Champions League. I am satisfied with how the team have grown and how we are working. We have started a path, even if I am sorry about how we came out of the Champions League and how we lost the Supercoppa Italiana.

"The team have been doing well for several months now, but we have reached the crucial moment of the season and we must reach the minimum goal, which is fourth place, by.trying to score as many points as possible."

 

Juventus have a Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against Fiorentina coming up on Wednesday, with Allegri's side holding a 1-0 lead.

"We will think about the Coppa Italia from the day after tomorrow," Allegri said.

However, that game is already somewhat in his thoughts, with Allegri saying he will choose either Leonardo Bonucci or Giorgio Chiellini in central defence against Bologna, but will not pick both, given the importance of the Fiorentina game.

Vlahovic is a confirmed starter, and Allegri said: "I hope he can become the top scorer in the league."

Heading into the weekend, Vlahovic has 22 goals for the season, two fewer than top scorer Ciro Immobile of Lazio.

Juventus have won each of their last 11 Serie A games against Bologna, scoring 26 goals in this run, and at home they have put together eight successive league wins against Saturday's opponents.

Massimiliano Allegri launched an impassioned defence of his Juventus side after they came from a goal down to beat Cagliari 2-1 in Serie A.

Juve have come in for heavy criticism of late following their Champions League elimination at the hands of Villarreal and their Derby d'Italia loss to Inter last week.

But Allegri, who saw his side move within five points of Serie A leaders Milan with a hard-fought victory in Sardinia, believes such critics are overly focused on results.

"I don't like losing, so I prefer criticism when we play badly, but still win. Nobody remembers the performance last Sunday, they only remember Inter marching towards the Scudetto, not how anybody played," Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.

"You never know, they might transform tonight's game too. The comical thing is that you in the media are always going on about beautiful football, but are also the first to focus only on the result!

"I was told that until the 75th minute against Villarreal, all the websites and social media were praising the Juventus performance. Once we conceded, Juventus were called a disaster.

"That doesn't make sense. The performance remains the same, the only thing that changed was the result. I enjoy myself hearing the criticism, but every now and then some go a bit over the top and that irritates me.

"It's not just about us, but football in general. I hope in future years people will return to talking about the ABC of football, like the first touch, shaking off your marker, etc. Italy won the World Cup four times, we have our style, but for 15 years we've been chasing after Pep Guardiola's style and didn't realise he’s changed as well."

Goals from Matthijs de Light and Dusan Vlahovic, who netted a fortuitous 75th-minute winner, earned Juve all three points after Joao Pedro gave Cagliari a surprise early lead.

Milan and Napoli, who along with Inter are a point adrift of the Rossoneri, both play on Sunday against Torino and Fiorentina respectively.

And Allegri continues to reject talk of a late Scudetto push for Juve.

"We lost a head-to-head with Inter that would've allowed us to have Scudetto ambitions," he added. "We need to be realistic. I continue to maintain Inter are the favourites, especially with their fixture list.

"Naturally, it's going to shake a team when you chase down the light at the end of the tunnel for 16 games and then it vanishes. That is why this was a very risky match, especially with players injured and suspended.

"We needed to win this evening to consolidate fourth place, reaching the final two rounds with a good advantage."

Massimiliano Allegri called on Juventus to improve their calmness and clinical finishing as he conceded his team cannot compete with Serie A title contenders Milan, Inter and Napoli.

Juve dominated for large periods against Inter in the Derby d'Italia, but Hakan Calhanoglu's penalty practically ended the Bianconeri's hopes for a late Scudetto surge following a remarkable unbeaten streak.

With Allegri's side also crashing out at the Champions League last-16 stage to Villarreal, their hopes of silverware hang on their Coppa Italia run, where they hold a 1-0 first-leg semi-final advantage over Fiorentina.

Allegri urged his team to improve on Saturday when they visit Cagliari, who have lost 10 of their last 11 league meetings with Juve – failing to score in eight of those games.

"There is just one possible reaction. Play good games. Tomorrow's match will be very different from the one against Inter," Allegri told reporters at Friday's pre-match news conference. 

"It's never easy to win in Cagliari and we must be prepared, knowing the opponents, and their moment. We must win games, that's the only thing we must think about.

"Our target is to finish in the top four. For now, we are there, but Roma are close [five points behind]. That's why we need a great performance tomorrow. We can take no risks, we need to adapt to the game.

"We played the best games against Atalanta, Villarreal and Inter at home, but we were not clinical enough. We need to improve and be more calm in those situations.

"I can understand errors in one or two games, but three is an important number and that's why we need to improve.

 

"I've analysed what I saw against Inter. I always think about what the team is doing. We deserve to be fourth. We need to work to improve and we can improve before the end of the season.

"We can work on the development of individual footballers and we have more time because we'll play one game per week, except the Coppa Italia semi-final with Fiorentina.

"I don't like compliments, otherwise, we become a team that is satisfied with compliments and finds excuses. I don't want excuses or compliments, I want victories."

Paulo Dybala will leave Turin when his contract expires at the end of the season but the Argentina international has continued to feature despite a breakdown in talks.

Allegri will hope his striker can deliver and remain committed to the cause against Cagliari, given Dybala has scored six of his eight goals in the league this season against teams in the lower half of the table.

"We have time to work during the week but at the same time, we have targets," he continued. 

"Every player in the team must give his contribution and help us reach a top-four finish, regardless of their future. We have five or six players with a contract expiring. Right now, we must focus on the pitch and on getting results.

"I think Juventus have created a lot in the last three or four months. We haven't scored much and we must be more efficient up front.

"Had we won against Inter, we would have had a small chance [to win the title], but now we need to focus on our target. We are fourth and we deserved so, when we were 10th, we deserve to be 10th. The rest doesn't count."

Paulo Dybala should have demanded a one-year contract to prove his worth to Juventus if he was happy in Turin, according to former Bianconeri boss Fabio Capello.

Argentina international Dybala is set to see his time at the Allianz Stadium comes to its conclusion when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The forward has 113 goals across all competitions for Juve, ranking him third all-time among the club’s non-Italian scorers, behind only David Trezeguet (171) and John Hansen (124).

Fellow Serie A competitors Inter and Premier League side Tottenham, managed by former Nerazzurri coach Antonio Conte, are reportedly among the favourites to secure Dybala's signature for the next campaign.

But Capello believes if the 28-year-old was settled at Juve then he should have pleaded with the club for another chance, while he heaped praise on Massimiliano Allegri's new star striker Dusan Vlahovic.

"I like Vlahovic, he has pace, physical strength and desire to improve," he told Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport. "He knows how to work for the team and stay inside the box.

"But Max [Allegri] is right when he says that he must learn how to play in a top club, managing the pressure and the different phases in a game.

"You can't question Dybala technically, but he has had some fitness issues. If he was happy in Turin, he should have challenged Juventus. Ask them for a one-year contract and show how much he's worth.

"The same goes for [Roma forward Nicolo] Zaniolo. He suffered two serious injuries and remained out for 18 months. He must rediscover self-confidence because he has the technical skills."

 

Capello also expressed his concern for the state of Italian football, with the Azzurri missing out on two straight World Cups and no Serie A side in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Roma and Atalanta are the only two Italian sides left in the Europa League, and former England manager Capello believes Italy are way behind their international competitors.

"Italian football is far behind the others. The ball doesn't move quickly, referees blow the whistle too often," he added. "They stop the play too frequently. Every challenge is a foul, so there is never intensity, our teams do not learn to keep up the pace.

"We have fallen behind, in every sense, but the main problem is that the best players no longer come to Italy, so there is no comparison with the best. 

"I don't learn anything if what should help me grow is of the same level as me, has my same knowledge, identical experiences"

Allegri acknowledged his reluctance to use young players in an interview on Friday, and the preference to utilise more experienced players is a problem thought to spread across the whole of the Italian game.

Capello expects no quick fixes as he cited the progression of other countries to learn from.

"Even eight. In Italy, everyone intervenes," he responded when asked if it would take five or six years to return Italy to the top of the footballing pyramid.

"As for youth sectors, those in charge should have a trip to Spain where they work on the technique, not on tactics."

Massimiliano Allegri remembers his maiden successes with Sassuolo and Milan more fondly than his triumphs with Juventus. 

Sassuolo made history under Allegri in 2007-08 when he led them to the Serie C title and promotion to the second tier for the first time.

He was poached by Cagliari and took over at Milan ahead of the 2010-11 season, guiding them to a first Scudetto in seven years. 

Allegri only added the Supercoppa Italiana before moving onto Juve in 2014. He steered the Bianconeri to five straight Serie A titles – the first four of which were domestic doubles thanks to successes in the Coppa Italia – and two Champions League finals, both of which ended in defeat. 

Despite the incredible record he possessed during his first stint at Juve, it is the triumphs in the earlier stages of his career that he remembers more prominently. 

"All the titles are beautiful, I cannot choose. The ones I remember the most are the Serie C title with Sassuolo and the first Serie A title with Milan," said Allegri. 

"The defeats, on the other hand, are all bad – some more than others because the question remains for you about whether you could have done something better." 

Juve endured a sluggish start to the season following Allegri's return to the helm and sit eight points adrift of leaders Milan with seven games to play. 

Allegri has come in for criticism for a lack of willingness to try out young players, an attitude many believe is widespread in Italy and a significant factor in their failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. 

The 54-year-old explained why he may seem reluctant to put his faith in youth. 

"For some years in Italy, there has been a tendency to consider youngsters to be champions after two or three games," he said. 

"But that is pushing them ahead of schedule – at 20 years old a footballer cannot have the maturity of a 28-year-old."

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri conceded his side's Serie A title chances had evaporated after their 1-0 home loss against Inter.

The home side controlled the majority of the contest, finishing with 23 shots compared to just five from Inter, but were unable to find the back of the net.

The decisive goal was drenched in controversy as Hakan Calhanoglu's penalty was saved in first-half stoppage time, with the rebound being scrambled in, before VAR and the referee decided other players had entered the box too early, leading to the penalty being retaken.

Calhanoglu made no mistake the second time around, slamming his shot into the bottom-left corner for what ended up being the match-winner.

Speaking to DAZN after the loss, Allegri said the result marked the end of Juventus' hopes of competing for this year's Scudetto.

"From now on we can say that Juventus are definitively cut off from the Scudetto," he said. 

"Now we have to score as many points as possible for fourth place, and then prepare to get off to a good start next year to win the championship. 

"We got off to a bad start, and we have recovered many points, but in the decisive matches the [results] have condemned us."

Despite the bleak outlook, Allegri was complimentary of his side.

"[It was] a good match – a good performance – we created a lot, and shot a lot on goal," he said.

"Too bad for the defeat, [but] there is room for improvement. 

"We have to see the glass half full – the boys have grown up and we have become an important team. We have to work on the technical improvement of the team and try to score as many points as possible… Roma are only five points [behind us]."

Despite Inter now sitting in third place, trailing both AC Milan and Napoli by three points, Allegri declared the Nerazzurri the favourites from here.

"I think Inter are favourites – [they have] the simplest schedule of Milan and Napoli," he said.

"For [Inter] it was an important obstacle to win here, now they will play it all the way and remain the favourites."

Paulo Dybala is coming to the end of his Juventus career, but Massimiliano Allegri will throw the Argentina forward into Sunday's Derby d'Italia regardless.

It could be Inter that Dybala plays for next season, as they reportedly court the 28-year-old who is entering the final months of his Juventus contract.

But this weekend the Nerazzurri will be the opposition as Dybala looks to help Juventus continue their surge up the table.

Victory at the Allianz Stadium would lift Juventus above faltering Inter and into third place, with the Scudetto perhaps not entirely off the table, despite Allegri's protestations they are not part of the title battle.

Amid intrigue over whether Dybala could miss out, Allegri backed him to make an impact in the biggest match of the weekend's Serie A schedule.

"Dybala will start the game," Allegri told a news conference on Saturday.

Talks over a new contract for Dybala broke down in March, meaning he can leave on a free transfer, and Allegri said Juventus agreed that outcome would be for the best.

"We are in agreement with the club on everything," Allegri said. "There is always a unity of purpose to move forward. The choices are made together.

"When we talk, I present my ideas and the company its own, and then in the end we always find unity of purpose to plan. We plan everything together.

"I don't think it's the first case of a player changing clubs. Right now, we need to be focused for the season finale."

Dybala has scored a modest three goals in his 10 previous Serie A games against Inter.

Allegri smarted at the mention of speculation over a possible move for Dybala to Inter, and for Paul Pogba to Juventus. Like Dybala, Manchester United's Pogba, a former Juve star, will be a free agent come the end of June.

"Dybala at Inter and Pogba at Juve? I don't do my own transfer market, let alone those of others," Allegri said, quoted by Gazzetta Dello Sport.

Inter looked strong favourites for the Serie A title earlier in the year but have taken only 11 points from their last nine Serie A games (W2 D5 L2), while Juventus have taken 21 points in the same stretch to hurtle into a strong fourth spot, closing in on the top three.

A 1-1 draw at San Siro when these teams met in the league in October was followed in January by Inter edging Juve 2-1 in the Supercoppa Italiana.

"It's not easy to say who is favourite in the Derby d'Italia," Allegri said. "We have been following our path steadily, and we are ready to face Inter... maybe it's our turn to win this fixture.

"Inter, together with Milan and Napoli, are one of three candidates for the Scudetto. As for Juventus, we need to keep our focus on fourth place. That's the position we are in right now but Atalanta are breathing down our necks. Our aim is to qualify for the Champions League next season."

Allegri's Juventus have recently pulled clear of Atalanta, who headed into the weekend nine points adrift of the Turin giants, albeit with one game in hand. This has come about due to Juventus having the longest current unbeaten run in Serie A – a stretch of 16 games (W11 D5).

It wasn't so long ago that voicing the idea of Juventus challenging for the Scudetto this season would have seen you laughed out of the room.

Yet, remarkably, they could potentially end the weekend just four points off the summit, and a victory over defending champions Inter would be a decent barometer of just how emphatic their late push is going to be.

Serie A's standout match this week is undoubtedly the Derby d'Italia between Juve and Inter in Turin, with Italy's top flight essentially establishing a pretty firm top four ahead of the international break.

But Massimiliano Allegri's Juve surely won't be content with just settling for fourth spot, and a win on Sunday will show they mean business.

A bedrock for improvement

Even if Juve do end up winning Serie A, Allegri will still have to contend with plenty of critics given their shock Champions League exit to Villarreal.

However, there's little doubt he has presided over a significant improvement since Andrea Pirlo's exit, even if the Old Lady remains more functional than fun.

 

The most notable aspect of their improved form is Juve's unbeaten streak. They have not lost any of their previous 16 league games, making them only one of two teams across the big five leagues to not suffer a domestic defeat in the past four months, the other being Sevilla in LaLiga.

The omens are good for Inter's visit as well: the Nerazzurri have won just once in 15 trips to Juve and that came way back in November 2012.
 

Timely break

Simone Inzaghi must have been concerned about Inter's form prior to the international break, which seemingly came at a good time for them.

Over their previous nine Serie A matches, Inter have gained just 11 points and won only two matches – sure, victory on Sunday and another in their game in hand will put them within three points of the summit, but that previous run is hardly a hallmark of champions.

By comparison, Juve have hit the accelerator at arguably the perfect time. Over the same period, Allegri's men have taken 21 points.

The Bianconeri have rocketed into contention by finding consistency when, for the most part, the top three have wobbled, and if they continue their run, Juventus will be hard to ignore in the title race.

Juve, beware!

For all of their recent woes, Inter of course remain a dangerous opponent with a particularly threatening tail.

That's to say Inter do have a habit of finishing strong and not knowing when they're beaten.

In Serie A this season, Inter's 19 points won from losing positions is more than any other team, while they have scored 22 times in the final 30 minutes of games – that's a joint-high with Atalanta, Lazio and Hellas Verona.

Juve ought to heed such a warning – don't get complacent with a slender lead in the latter stages.
 

A tight affair?

While Inter are the league's top scorers with 62 goals, there's reason to suggest this won't be an unrelenting goalfest… *cue eight-goal thriller*.

These are two of the league's best three defences, while no team has kept more clean sheets than Juve's 13 this term.

 

On top of that, Juve have proven rather miserly when it comes to allowing goalscoring situations, with their average of 3.1 shots on target concede per 90 minutes being bettered only by Torino.

Inter aren't much worse in that respect, with their average at 3.6 – that's the sixth best in Serie A. Of course, a clinical display in that regard could still lead to plenty of goals, but clearly if there's any area both of these sides have excelled in domestically this term, it's defensively.

 

Dusan Vlahovic joins Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland as "the best players of their generation", according to Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Allegri signed Serbia international Vlahovic from Fiorentina in January in a transfer initially worth €70million, and the striker has managed four goals in his first seven Serie A games for his new club.

The former Viola star also netted 33 times in the league in 2021, matching Cristiano Ronaldo's record for the most scored in the Italian top flight during a calendar year.

Indeed, his 21-goal league haul last season was the highest recorded by a Fiorentina player in a single campaign since Alberto Gilardino in 2008-09 (25), and he has carried that form into the new campaign as well.

Vlahovic has registered 21 goals across appearances for Juve and Fiorentina in Serie A this season, making him the league's joint-top scorer – level with Ciro Immobile – while only Robert Lewandowski (31) and Karim Benzema (22) have scored more in Europe's top-five leagues.

Haaland, who has been limited by injuries at Borussia Dortmund, is ninth in the same list with 16 Bundesliga goals, striking once every 81 minutes on average, while Paris Saint-Germain's Mbappe is 11th with 15 to his name in the French top flight.

Allegri hailed the youthful trio as he expressed his excitement to see Vlahovic develop more.

"He is a young player with not much international experience. But he has quality. He wants and can improve. He has time to do it," Allegri said of Vlahovic in an interview with GQ, as quoted by CalcioMercato.

"He is ruthless in front of the goal and Juventus made an important signing. He, Mbappe and Haaland are the best players of their generation."

While there were expectations that Vlahovic's arrival may knock Alvaro Morata down the pecking order of Juve strikers, Allegri reiterated that the Spain international remains integral to his plans in Turin.

"I called him that night [when Juve signed Vlahovic] to tell him: 'You are going nowhere, with him, you will become even more important,' and that's what happened," Allegri added on Morata.

"It's crazy to question Morata. He can't be at his best if he is asked to do things that he can't. But he's always been available playing in a position which is not exactly the best one for him."

Allegri will be hoping for Morata and Vlahovic to link-up once more when Juve, who are fourth in Serie A and seven points adrift of leaders Milan, host Inter on Sunday.

Massimiliano Allegri has revealed he signed an agreement to become Real Madrid head coach before opting to return to Juventus.

The Italian guided the Bianconeri to two Champions League finals, in 2015 and 2017, while winning 11 trophies during his five-season stay, including five straight Serie A titles and four consecutive Coppa Italias.

However, Allegri was dismissed by Juve president Andrea Agnelli at the end of the 2018-19 campaign, with a quarter-final Champions League exit to Ajax defining the season in which they signed Cristiano Ronaldo as a failure.

Spells with Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo yielded unsuccessful returns for Juve, who brought back Allegri at the start of this season, but the 54-year-old almost became the Madrid boss.

"I had already signed with [Madrid] last summer, but I called the president [Florentino Perez] to tell him that I would not go because I had chosen Juventus," Allegri said in an interview with GC, as quoted by CalcioMercato. "He thanked me. When they called me in May, I had no doubts.

"I have no regrets, it would have been a great professionally: Milan, Juventus, Real Madrid… but you can't have everything in life. I am proud to have coached Milan for four years and to be at Juventus now.

"I rejected Real Madrid twice. The first time I was in talks to extend with Juventus. I told Florentino that I had already given my word to Agnelli."

Allegri did not take up a managerial role between his exit and return to Juve, and believes he made the right decision to come back at the time he did.

"It was the right time. I could have returned earlier, but I didn't do it because of personal reasons," he added.

"My mother died in 2018, so I didn't want to go too far away. I remained close to my son Giorgio and my father, who was severely affected by the death of my mum. He still lives in Livorno.

"I decided to return to Juventus because I have a strong bond with the club and the owners, but also to stay closer to my son, who lives in Turin with his mother. I like to be close to my loved ones."

The Juve head coach will be hoping his side, who are fourth in the league and seven points adrift of leaders Milan, can continue their strong run of form when they host Inter on Sunday.

Blaise Matuidi believes Juventus will struggle to replace Paulo Dybala when he departs at the end of the season.

Juve chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene confirmed on Monday that Dybala's contract will not be renewed.

The Argentina forward's deal expires at the end of June and the Bianconeri have opted against offering him an extension.

Dybala has scored 113 goals for the Serie A giants, ranking him third all-time among the club's non-Italian scorers, behind only David Trezeguet (171) and John Hansen (124).

He joined Juve from Palermo in a deal worth up to €40million in June 2015 and has proved to be a shrewd acquisition, finding the back of the net 80 times in 202 Serie A appearances.

 

Matuidi is surprised the Turin giants have allowed his former team-mate to move on and says he will leave a big void.

The ex-France international told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "I have an excellent relationship with him, I heard the news, but I have not yet had the opportunity to speak to him.

"He is a great man, as well as a great player. I am very surprised because I think that it will not be easy for Juventus to replace him and find a new player at his level.

"He has done fantastic things in recent years, the fans love him and they will never forget him. I am sure he will find a club that will allow him to continue to grow and do well.

"The only explanation is that Juventus have decided to renew the team. I know it's difficult to accept, but in these situations you have to know how to turn the page."

Juve have been linked with Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo as they prepare for life without Dybala.

Arrivabene explained the reasoning behind Dybala's impending departure, telling Tuttomercatoweb.com: "The most important change is that Juventus has not renewed Paulo Dybala's contract.

"With the transfer market, I reiterated it: the approach was sincere. With the signings made in January, with the arrival of [Dusan] Vlahovic, Paulo's position is not what it was anymore at the centre of the project.

"That is why we preferred to make this kind of decision."

Juventus chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene has confirmed Paulo Dybala will leave the Bianconeri when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Dybala moved from Palermo to Juventus in June 2015 in a deal worth up to €40million and has since scored 80 goals in 202 Serie A appearances.

The forward was on target in Sunday's 2-0 win over Serie A strugglers Salernitana, with Alvaro Morata alone matching his league tally of eight for Juve so far this season.

Dybala now has 113 goals across all competitions for Juve, ranking him third all-time among the club’s non-Italian scorers, behind only David Trezeguet (171) and John Hansen (124).

However, head coach Massimiliano Allegri suggested he did not know what the future held for the Argentina international, before reports claimed he would be departing.

Arrivabene reinforced those claims on Monday, as he told Tuttomercatoweb.com: "The most important change is that Juventus has not renewed Paulo Dybala's contract.

"With the transfer market, I reiterated it: the approach was sincere. With the signings made in January, with the arrival of [Dusan] Vlahovic, Paulo's position is not what it was any more at the centre of the project.

"That is why we preferred to make this kind of decision."

Previous reports suggested Dybala had reached a verbal agreement with Juve last October before nothing came of the negotiations, and Arrivabene acknowledged the club's January business had changed their thinking.

"The parameters were different. I had already talked about it; no one has ever questioned Paulo's ability," he continued. "There were considerations to be made on appearances, contract length and financial considerations.

"We had to make our choices in January, we made them, we got here. For Juventus, it would have been easy to make a lower offer, but it would have been disrespectful towards Paulo. The decision has been made. Today's meeting was friendly, clear and respectful."

Massimiliano Allegri is unsure whether Paulo Dybala will remain at Juventus beyond the end of this season after he scored in a 2-0 win over Salernitana.

Dybala's fifth-minute strike beat Luigi Sepe at his near post to set the Bianconeri on their way to a routine win, extending their unbeaten run to 16 Serie A games and keeping them within seven points of leaders Milan.

He has now scored eight league goals for Juventus this term, more than any other player (Alvaro Morata also has eight), but the 28-year-old has recently been linked with a move away from Turin.

The Argentine's contract with Juventus is set to expire at the end of the season, and he was reported to have clashed with Allegri over the Bianconeri's training schedule earlier this week.

Speaking after Dybala starred against Serie A's bottom club, the Bianconeri boss was unsure whether he would remain at the club.

"I don't know if he will be a Juventus player or not," Allegri told DAZN. "That's why there is the club, with which I am absolutely in line. 

"It is not just Paulo who is about to expire his contract, there are also [Juan] Cuadrado, [Federico] Bernardeschi, [Mattia] De Sciglio. 

"On my part and on the part of the team, there is only the will to do well now. I give evaluations of the players, but then there are also contracts and many other things to see."

Despite being unsure as to where the forward's future lay, Allegri was adamant that the pair have maintained a positive relationship.

"The relationship with Dybala and all the other players is good," the Bianconeri coach added.

"There are disagreements, exchanges of opinions, and I am quite direct in things. The players have to perform on the pitch, and they have to know that they have my respect, regardless. 

"Paulo arrived as a child from Palermo, then he grew up and became a great player."

Dybala was joined on the scoresheet by Dusan Vlahovic after 28 minutes.

The Serbia international's 21st Serie A goal of the campaign put him level with Adem Ljajic as the second-highest goalscorer from his nation in Italian top-flight history; his tally of 48 putting him just three behind Dejan Stankovic (51).

Allegri was keen to emphasise the importance of Vlahovic at the spearhead of his attack, but said the league's leading marksman still had room to improve. 

"He played a good game," Allegri said of the 22-year-old. "He's an important point of reference, then he comes back and covers. 

"Like everyone, I talk to him often, he needs to improve a lot on the cleanliness of the game. He knows this, and we are working on it."

Juventus have taken 35 points from their last 15 league games to give themselves an outside shot of the Serie A title, having taken just 24 points from their first 15 this season.

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