Maurizio Sarri officially stepped down as head coach of Lazio on Wednesday. The veteran manager was quickly replaced by former assistant Giovanni Martusciello. Lazio currently sits ninth in the Serie A table after finishing second only behind champions Napoli during the previous campaign.

Reports out of Italy claim that Sarri made the choice after supposedly telling the players that they were not with him anymore. The same report even went as far as saying that some of the team members were happy with the coach’s departure. Sarri’s contract at the club was previously set to expire in the summer of 2025.

“S.S. Lazio announces that Maurizio Sarri has handed in his resignation as head coach of the first team,” the team said in a statement. “The club would like to thank the coach for his achievements and for the work he has done, wishing him the best of luck in his professional and personal life.

“At the same time, the club communicates that it has decided to entrust Giovanni Martusciello with the technical leadership.”

Lazio has taken huge step backward after solid previous season

Sarri made the decision to depart the club after he failed to win any of the team’s previous four matchups. Lazio also recorded five losses during their last seven Serie A fixtures as well. After taking a year off from the sport, the Italian coach initially joined the club in the summer of 2021.

In his first season at the helm, Lazio finished fifth, subsequently qualifying for the Europa League. Star striker Ciro Immobile flourished under Sarri and finished the 2021/22 campaign as the Italian top flight’s top scorer. The coach’s influence on the club seemed to get positive from there, as Lazio finished second in the Serie A the following season.

Nevertheless, the Roman club has taken a major step backward during the current campaign. Lazio found themselves as low as 18th in the table after dropping their opening two league matches. Sarri did manage to lift the team back up to sixth as recently as late January. However, the club’s recent form has since diminished over the last six weeks.

Sarri latest veteran coach to seemingly lose his touch

Despite the setback, Sarri will now likely become a significant target for other top teams around Europe later this summer. After all, the Italian has collected silverware with Chelsea and Juventus in previous spells at the clubs. Sarri guided the Blues to the Europa League trophy in 2019. Although he left the team soon after the triumph, the coach then won the Serie A with the Old Lady a year later.

While Sarri is a highly rated veteran coach, and will likely find a job fairly fast, clubs should perhaps be looking forward when looking to hire a manager. Fellow veteran Rafa Benitez was recently sacked by Spanish side Celta Vigo on Tuesday. Jose Mourinho departed Roma back in January as well. There have been suggestions that, much like players, older coaches tend to lose their ability with age.

Along with these concerns, Sarri has also previously found himself in hot water due to homophobic and sexist comments. Serie A officials fined the coach over $20,000 for a remark during an exchange with then Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini. Sarri eventually apologized for the comments after accepting the Chelsea position back in 2018.