Maurizio Sarri takes swipe at Eden Hazard, Chelsea, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Maurizio Sarri takes swipe at Eden Hazard, Chelsea

Juventus' new coach hopes to help Ronaldo break records

Maurizio Sarri could not resist a thinly veiled swipe at Eden Hazard and his former club Chelsea, during his unveiling as Juventus coach yesterday.

The 60-year-old, who also said he was relishing the chance to coach five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, said Hazard's style caused defensive issues at Chelsea. The Belgian has since left London for Real Madrid.

Sarri said during a press conference at the Allianz Stadium in Turin: "In recent years, I've had 4-3-3, but the 4-3-3 at Chelsea was very different to the one at Napoli.

"We had to accompany Eden Hazard's characteristics, as he could change the game, but also his presence caused issues in defending that we had to work on."

The chain-smoking Italian added that none of his former Chelsea charges can compare with Ronaldo, who will represent a step up in class.

He said: "At Chelsea, I coached some very strong players, but training Cristiano will be yet another step forward.

"He has made many records.

"I'd like to help him break some new records."

Sarri returns to Italy after just one turbulent season in the English Premier League with the Blues, having previously coached his hometown team Napoli for three seasons.

Despite his long coaching career, Sarri lifted his first trophy only last month, when he guided Chelsea to the Europa League crown.

"From an emotional point of view, it was a very long path through the lower divisions and then Serie A and then Premier League."

Chelsea were the only team that Sarri has coached outside of Italy, but he failed to win over their fans, despite taking the club back to the Champions League by finishing third in the EPL and winning the Europa League.

"The Premier League was a great experience, but in the latter half (of the season), I felt professional and personal needs to return to Italy," he said.

"I decided to come back to Italy because such an important club wanted me so strongly."

Sarri also took a dig at Chelsea, saying his former charges at Napoli were more of a team than the Blues.

He explained: "Napoli had team players, who were totally at the disposal of the team and moved the ball at a decisively quicker pace.

"Chelsea are made up of probably technically superior players, but with different individual characteristics.


"They have wingers who want the ball at their feet and like to go one-on-one. It leads to a less fluid style of football, because Napoli had 11 who could play one-touch football.

"Chelsea had seven or eight who could do that."

Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici said Sarri was their absolute first choice to replace Massimiliano Allegri.

"We chose Maurizio because we felt he was the best coach for Juventus now, just as Allegri was five years ago and (Antonio) Conte three years before that."

Sarri, who was decked out in a Juventus team suit and tie, rather than his usual tracksuit, was also asked if that would be his new dress code, reported AFP.

He said: "Suit tie or tracksuit? I have to talk to the club. I would prefer not to wear the suit and tie on the pitch.

"The important thing is that at my age, they don't send me out naked onto the pitch."

Meanwhile, Sarri's former boss at Napoli, Aurelio De Laurentiis, jibed: "Sarri is always in tracksuits, he shouts and curses. I'd like to see how he adapts to the style of his new team, but it'll be even better to see (Napoli coach Carlo) Ancelotti beat Juve on the pitch.

"After that, what will the Napoli fans, who consider Sarri to be only a great traitor, say?"