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No smoke without fire: Lazio hire Maurizio Sarri

After teasing the news with a cryptic tweet, Lazio on Wednesday announced they had hired former Chelsea and Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri.

“Maurizio Sarri is the new coach,” posted the Serie A club on social media.

Earlier Lazio sent out a tweet showing a hand holding a lit cigarette, track suit tops and a simple drawing of a bank.

Sarri, the former Napoli, Chelsea and Juventus coach, worked as a banker and is a notorious chain smoker who wears a track suit on the sideline.

Italian media reported that the two sides agreed to a two-year deal earlier in the week.

Lazio followed the announcement of the signing with another tweet which they posted on their web site.

It said: “Sarrismo…The conception of the game of football advocated by coach Sarri based on speed and attacking propensity.”

It was accompanied by a one-minute video which, in addition to Lazio fans and players, contained clips of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, separated by a shot of Paolo di Canio, as well as images of a rainbow, Roman ruins and Freddie Mercury, before finishing with Sarri.

Sarri succeeds Simone Inzaghi, who left for Inter Milan after five years at Lazio.

The appointment continues a tumultuous off-season summer in Italy’s top flight. So far 12 clubs have changed coaches with only AC Milan and Atalanta in the top 10 keeping their coach.

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Sarri, 62, became famed for his ‘Sarriball’ at Napoli from 2015-18. He joined Chelsea where he spent one season, winning the Europa League, his first trophy as a coach, before moving to Juventus in 2019.

In Turin he won Serie A, but was fired last August after one season in charge.

Sarri is a charismatic and colourful coach who has worked his way up from the Italian lower divisions, starting on the benches of tiny Tuscan clubs while retaining his day job as a banker.

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