Maurizio Sarri takes on his former club Napoli in tonight’s Italian Cup final looking for his first trophy as Juventus coach days before Serie A resumes after a three-month shutdown.
Juventus are chasing a record-extending 14th Italian Cup against five-time winners Napoli in Rome, after the Turin giants’ four-year cup-winning streak was ended last season.
Sarri took over at Juventus one year ago after a season with Chelsea during which the Premier League side won the Europa League.
Before that, the 61-year-old spent three seasons with Napoli, battling Juventus for the title, before falling out with club owner Aurelio De Laurentiis.
Sarri claimed he only found out he had been sacked and replaced by Carlo Ancelotti when he switched on the television.
De Laurentiis blasted his former coach on Monday.
“He (Sarri) betrayed me, he left with the vulgar excuse of money, forced me to change, and still had a two-year contract,” De Laurentiis told Corriere dello Sport.
Sarri’s return to Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo ended in a 2-1 league defeat in January.
But the former Chelsea manager will have another chance for just the second trophy of his 30-year coaching career at an empty Stadio Olimpico.
A win would help the eight-time defending Serie A champions set the tone when the title battle resumes next week, with Lazio just one point behind in second place.
Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, who helped Napoli to their last Italian Cup triumph in 2014 and was Serie A’s top-scorer with 36 goals under Sarri in the 2015–2016 season, remains a doubt for the Turin side with a thigh injury.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who missed a penalty in Friday’s semi-final second leg against AC Milan, will start up front for Juventus, while Napoli winger Dries Mertens is fresh from breaking the club’s all-time scoring record with a last-four goal against Inter Milan.