Cristiano Ronaldo has shown his appreciation for ex-Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo, describing it as “an honour” to be coached by the former Italy international.
Pirlo’s not-so-surprising departure from Juve was confirmed on Friday, just hours before the Serie A club announced the return of Massimiliano Allegri.
The rookie coach’s solitary season in the job saw the Bianconeri fail to claim the league title for the first time since 2011, though they did win both the Supercoppa Italiana and Coppa Italia trophies.
They again suffered disappointment in the Champions League, edged out on away goals by Porto at the last-16 stage.
Ronaldo, who scored 29 goals to finish as the leading scorer in Serie A for the 2020-21 campaign, thanked Pirlo via social media.
“Thank you Maestro, it was an honour to be coached by you,” he posted on his Instagram stories to accompany a picture of the duo shaking hands.
23 – Only Rudi Garcia (26 in 2013/14) and José Mourinho (25 in 2008/09) won more matches than Andrea #Pirlo (23 in 2020/21) among managers in their first season in #SerieA in the three points for a win era, since 1994/95. Start. pic.twitter.com/IZJmf5WFSL
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) May 28, 2021
Pirlo enjoyed a strong finish to the season, a 2-1 final win over Atalanta in the Coppa Italia coming while also securing a top-four finish in Serie A, though an impressive run-in was not enough to keep him in the job.
He departed having won 23 of his 38 league games for a points-per-game average of 2.05, below both the coach he replaced in Maurizio Sarri (2.18) and also Allegri, who managed 2.39 during his first spell in charge.
Still, the only coaches to record more victories than Pirlo in their first season in the competition since 1994-95 are Rudi Garcia (26) and Jose Mourinho (25), with Roma and Inter respectively.
There has been speculation surrounding Ronaldo’s future in Turin too, despite another outstanding year on a personal level.
The forward – now preparing for Euro 2020 as part of a Portugal squad looking to retain the trophy – was an unused substitute in the final game under Pirlo, watching on from the bench as his team-mates triumphed 4-1 against Bologna.