Juventus have sacked first team coach Ciro Ferrara and appointed former Milan and Inter boss Alberto Zaccheroni in his place until the end of the season.
A statement from Juventus read: “The Bianconeri club announces it has released Ciro Ferrara as coach and appointed Alberto Zaccheroni, who has signed a contract until June 2010.
“Zaccheroni will take over the team immediately and will guide this afternoon’s training session in Vinovo before being officially unveiled to the media.”
Juve were knocked out of the Coppa Italia on Thursday night when Mario Balotelli scored a minute from time to give Inter Milan a 2-1 victory and it proved to be the final straw for the juve board who had hitherto offer their backing to Ferrara.
Following the match Juventus president Jean-Claude Blanc said: “We are very disappointed, as we have failed at another of our objectives for the season.”
Ferrara, 42, had been under pressure since Juve were knocked out of the Champions League in December. Poor form in Serie A has seen the club plummet to sixth in the standings, four points behind Napoli, who hold the last Champions League qualifying spot in Serie A.
The Italian media suggest Zaccheroni is just a temporary appointment at the Stadio Olimpico Torino, brought in to hold the reins while they line up a long term solution, with the favourite being Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez.
It has been sugested that a Juve delegation flew to Merseyside this week to convince the Spaniard to leave Anfield in the summer and tempted Benitez with a contract worth £2.6 million a year, after tax.
Speaking at his Friday press conference, ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, Benitez side-stepped the issue.
“I am not here to talk about speculation because people talk too much,” said Benitez. “I am focused on preparing my team for the game against Bolton (tomorrow).
“I know they (Juventus) were interested, that is part of the game now in football, but I am not ready to talk too much because I don’t want to lose my focus.
“When you are a manager and you have clubs asking you have to be proud because they are a top side in Europe but I am really happy here and want to do my job as best I can.”
Caretaker Juve coach Zaccheroni won a league title with Milan in 1999 after making a name for himself at Udinese. But he has not worked since 2007 after less than successful spells at Lazio, Inter and Juve’s city rivals Torino.