ROME - Serie A club Cagliari sprung a big surprise on Tuesday by sacking Massimiliano Allegri who is regarded as one of Italian football's most promising coaches.
"Cagliari announce that they have relieved Massimiliano Allegri of his position," said a statement on the club website. "Academy coach Giorgio Melis has been put in charge."
Allegri has paid for a dire run in which Cagliari lost seven and drew two of their last nine league games.
The dismissal was still unexpected, however, with the Sardinians nine points above the relegation zone in 12th place with five games left.
Allegri won Italy's "Golden Bench" award in February after his peers voted him Serie A coach of the year ahead of Inter Milan's Jose Mourinho.
He had been linked with taking over at troubled Juventus next season.