Marcello Lippi was surprised Antonio Conte quit Juventus, but urged fans to “have faith in Max Allegri.”
The Guangzhou Evergrande Coach and Juve legend spoke to Tuttosport newspaper about the dramatic changes in Turin this summer.
“I had hoped Conte would stay at Juventus for many years, as it would’ve pleased me to see him lead several winning eras. I cultivated that romantic dream...
“It’s difficult to get inside people’s heads. If he felt certain sensations and had the courage to express them, then his choice must be respected.”
Conte announced his exit by mutual consent on the second day of pre-season training, so there was a scramble to get his replacement.
“It probably would’ve been better for the club if Antonio had made this decision earlier, but other factors must’ve entered into the fray,” continued World Cup winner Lippi.
“I have great faith in Allegri. He already worked at a top level club like Milan and won the Scudetto. There could be initial problems, also due to controversy from his past with the Rossoneri, but then Allegri’s great abilities will shine through.
“It will be crucial to start strong. I have no doubts, the team will become one with its Coach. The current club structure is very solid and marches directly towards clear objectives. The club is Juve’s greatest strength.
“They have won three consecutive Serie A titles, so it’s only natural they are the favourites. It is also natural that Roma, Napoli, Inter and Milan are trying to reinforce in order to bridge that gap.”
Another of Lippi’s old players, Pippo Inzaghi, is now on the Milan bench.
“He has great enthusiasm and is fortunate to work at a club that gives him strong support. It will depend on the quality of the squad, though, as passion and motivation can only get you so far.”
Lippi famously left the Bianconeri and then returned to win another Scudetto, so could Conte follow the same path?
“Could he return to Juve? Antonio’s rapport with these colours is great, as is his affection for the club. We shouldn’t rule out him coming back one day.
“Will Conte become Italy Coach? I’d be happy if he felt that’s what he wanted to do, but I say the same about Roberto Mancini and some of the other names I’ve read about.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!