Lazio tease Sarri arrival with cigarette emoji

Lazio confirmed Maurizio Sarri's arrival as manager on Wednesday when they tweeted an emoji of a cigarette -- a nod to the new coach's fondness of smoking.

Reports in Italy said the 62-year-old had signed a two-year deal with the club. Lazio confirmed the news that Sarri had taken over later on Wednesday in a statement.

"Lazio announces that Maurizio Sarri is the new first-team coach," the statement read. "Lazio have chosen a coach whose standing is in line with the need to consolidate and grow, in Italy and in Europe, the leading role that the club, its fans and the team deserves to have."

Sarri had been without a club since his exit from Juventus in August 2020 following their Champions League round-of-16 elimination against Lyon.

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Previously, Sarri managed several clubs in the Italian lower leagues before a first stint in Serie A when he guided Empoli to promotion in 2014 and then safety in the following campaign, which earned him a move to Napoli.

In his first season in Naples, he led the club to a title charge before Juve overtook them and won the Scudetto. That same season, Gonzalo Higuain broke the Serie A record for most goals scored in a single season with 36. The record was matched in the 2019-20 season by Lazio forward Ciro Immobile.

Sarri then came even closer to leading Napoli to the title in 2017-18 but lost out to Juve by four points. He left for Chelsea that summer and led them to a third-place finish and victory in the Europa League -- winning the final 4-1 against Arsenal.

He left to return to Italy with Juve and won the Serie A title, the club's ninth in a row, and reached the Coppa Italia final before he was replaced by Andrea Pirlo.

Simone Inzaghi left Lazio for Serie A champions Inter after five seasons in which he won the Coppa Italia and the Italian Supercoppa twice. He also took Lazio back in to the Champions League knockout round for the first time since the 1999-00 season.

Lazio finished the 2020-21 campaign in sixth place and will play in the Europa League.

Eight of Serie A's top 10 sides from last season have changed manager this summer, with Lazio's city rivals Roma appointing Jose Mourinho.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.