Juventus have dismissed Claudio Ranieri and replaced him with their former defender Ciro Ferrara with the Bianconeri in danger of missing out on automatic qualification for the UEFA Champions League.
Ranieri's deal was due to expire in June 2010 but the club decided to sever all ties with the 57-year-old after Sunday's 2-2 home draw with Atalanta – Juve's seventh league game without a win – left them just a point clear of fourth-placed Fiorentina with two matches remaining.
Ferrara, who made 253 league appearances in an eleven-year spell with the Turin club, will take charge of this weekend's match at Siena and the visit of Lazio on the final day of the season.
Formerly in charge of Valencia and Chelsea, Ranieri took charge of Juventus in the summer 2007, guiding them to a third-place finish on their return to Serie A.
This season Juventus have suffered an inconsistent campaign and were eliminated in the first knockout round of the Champions League, at the semi-final stage of the Coppa Italia, and have seen rivals Inter lift the Serie A title for a fourth consecutive season.
"Juventus can announce the dismissal of coach Claudio Ranieri. From today the first team has been entrusted to Ciro Ferrara," an official statement from the club read.
"Juventus would like to thank Ranieri for the work he has done over the last two years. We also wish Ferrara immediate success in his new position," the statement continued, without confirming whether Ferrara was a short-term appointment.
The 42-year-old Ferrara, who has been working with the 'Old Lady' as a youth team coach and also as Italy coach Marcello Lippi's assistant, will begin his new job on Tuesday.
"I have been working with Juve since 1994 and I have a great relationship with this club," said Ferrara. "When I received the call, I was excited and had no doubts about accepting.
"I know the players very well and I think they just need to regain confidence. I don't know if I will be the coach next season. If the club hire another coach in the summer, I will have no problem in making him space."