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Andrea Pirlo: An ode to the maestro

With news that the coolest footballer of all time is retiring, RealSport are paying our respects to a fine career for the Italian legend.


Born on the 19th May, 1979, Pirlo has had a career to be proud of.

The Italian maestro has dominated midfields for over 20 years of professional football with his technical brilliance and sheer genius. Pirlo began his career at minions Brescia, helping the club to the Serie B title in 1997.

His impressive performances led to  a transfer to giants Inter Milan, where he then had two loan spells, first Regina, then former club Brescia.

Pirlo is one of those rare players who can play for not two, but three different arch rivals and still be universally adored.

Creating a legacy

Pirlo has played for all of Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus. It was at AC however where Pirlo really began to establish himself as a world class playmaker, having struggled to nail down a regular starting spot at their city rivals.

Inter must have been wondering what they were missing after Carlo Ancelotti brought him to AC in 2001.

It was a positional adjustment from Ancelotti that allowed Pirlo to flourish, and arguably become the greatest of all time in his role. Pirlo was deployed as a deep lying playmaker in a 4-1-2-1-2. This positional change allowed Pirlo more time on the ball, and the ability to orchestrate attacks, taking advantage of his best qualities.

Pirlo became a key component of a Milan midfield also containing the likes of Clarence Seedorf and Kaka, and was integral in the Italian club’s resounding success. He helped the Italian giants to two Champions League titles, in 2003 and 2007, two Serie A’s in 2004 and 2011 as well as other silverware.

Pirlo was also an integral part of Italy’s World Cup win in Germany in 2006. However, despite still being one of the finest midfielders in the world, Pirlo was allowed to leave Milan in 2011 to join rivals Juventus on a free transfer.

Milan president Silvio Berlusconi admitted afterwards that allowing the Italian genius to leave on a free was his biggest regret. When Pirlo joined Juventus in 2011, the Turin club were trophy-less since 2003.

Ageing like a fine wine

However, under Antonio Conte and then Massimiliano Allegri, the Juve revolution begun, and was spearheaded by the sublime performances of Pirlo.

Despite being 32 years of age, Pirlo went on to arguably play the best football of his career.

He played a crucial role in four Serie A titles in a row whilst he was at the club, from 2012 to 2015 as well as two Supercoppa Italiana titles. Pirlo ran the show for Juventus. His wide range of passing and ability to dictate the tempo of matches allowed Juventus to completely dominate any opponent they faced in the Italian league.

Pirlo’s experience and all round genius also allowed the likes of Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal to flourish, knowing they had the pass master there to support and guide them. Pirlo was also capable of the special himself.

Pirlo had a wonderful long range strike and took a wonderful free kick and set piece. When Pirlo was about to line up a strike from distance, the opposition would already prepare themselves to take the resulting kick off.

Having spent 20 years playing in Italy, Pirlo decided it was time to take America by storm, joining New York City in 2015.

His class and composure were evident from the off, helping his side reach the playoffs in his second season at the club, despite being a newly formed side.

The Italian was and still is class and composure personified. He plays the game at his own pace and is constantly a step or two ahead of his opponents.

His brilliance has inspired a generation of youngsters, wishing to become the next Pirlo in the deep lying playmaker. So all that’s left to say is we will miss your genius on the pitch and thank you to the coolest footballer that ever lived.

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Harry Brooks

Harry graduated from UAL in Elephant and Castle with a 2:1 BA Hons degree in sports journalism.

He has an NCTJ diploma and also coaches football and teaches PE in schools.

Harry loves to talk football tactics!

Andrea Pirlo: An ode to the maestro

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