Massimiliano Allegri ended his Juventus career in disappointing fashion on Sunday after the champions were undone by two late strikes at Sampdoria to finish the Serie A season with a five-match winless streak.
A scuffed finish from Gregoire Defrel six minutes form the end and a superb stoppage-time free-kick from Gianluca Caprari sank Juve, who picked up just three points after securing their eighth straight league title late last month.
However despite a poor final few weeks they still finished 11 points ahead of second-placed Napoli, who ended their underwhelming campaign beaten 3-2 defeat at Torino on Saturday thanks to an acrobatic Federico Santander header two minutes from the end.
“I feel good because I ended five incredible years by winning the title … tomorrow a new era begins,” Allegri told broadcaster DAZN after the defeat.
He leaves having also won four Coppa Italias and re-establishing the Old Lady as a force in Europe, reaching two Champions League finals and signing Cristiano Ronaldo last summer.
“I’ll come back to work when I have the opportunity … I need to find a team with which I can enjoy myself and do a good job,” he added.
Allegri rested a host of first-choice players, including star attacker Ronaldo, for the meaningless fixture, which gave the league’s leading scorer Fabio Quagliarella the chance to extend his lead at top of the scoring charts.
The 36-year-old, who is strongly linked with a move back to Napoli, the club he supported as a boy, failed to add to his 26 goals but should still be assured his place as top scorer as he is four ahead of AC Milan young gun Krzysztof Piatek and Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata.
Earlier Torino finished their exciting campaign in seventh place, level on points with Roma ahead of their season-ender with lowly Parma, with a 3-1 win over Lazio.
– Champions League, relegation bun fight –
Atalanta, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Roma — who are also bidding farewell to captain and local hero Daniele De Rossi — will duke it out for the final two top-four positions, with Atalanta favourites to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history.
Meanwhile Serie A’s head-to-head tiebreaker format means that 15th-placed Fiorentina are in real danger of being relegated.
The Tuscan outfit are three points ahead of 18th-placed Genoa ahead of the pair’s do-or-die clash in Florence — but have lost five straight in the league and haven’t won a game in any competition since mid-February, despite the return of Vincenzo Montella as coach last month.
Should they lose to Genoa and Udinese, who are level on 40 points with Fiorentina, not lose to Cagliari and 17th-placed Empoli win at Inter, the ‘Viola’ would go down for the first time since bouncing back from bankruptcy in the early part of this century.
They can also go down if Genoa beat them by two clear goals, Udinese lose to Cagliari and Empoli beat Inter, as they would be overtaken by Empoli and lose a three-way tie-break with Udinese and Genoa.
Fiorentina could join in Serie B already-relegated Chievo, who ended a miserable season in the worst possible fashion when they set an embarrassing points record thanks to a drab goalless draw at also-down Frosinone.
Chievo, who had three points deducted for false accounting before the start of the season, ended the campaign with 17 points following Saturday’s non-event at the Stadio Benito Stirpe.
That is the lowest in the three-points-for-a-win era since the league returned to 20 teams in 2004, with Pescara getting 18 in 2016/17.