FAREWELL ANDREA PRILO “THE MAESTRO”
December is going to be a month of celebration, a month when football as a family will once again hold hands and bid farewell to a living legend, a world renounced playmaker, an “artista“, a footballer unlike no other, the last great of his kind – Andrea Pirlo.
Over the years Italy has produced a lot of magnificent players, the likes of Vieri, Totti, Baggio, Del pierro, Cannavaro, Inzaghi, Maldini, Zanetti, Buffon and so many more.
Pirlo was born in Flero, Italy, in the province of Brescia. He began his career with the Flero youth side, later moving to Voluntas, and subsequently joined the youth sector of local club Brescia in 1994, where he initially played predominantly as a supporting forward. In 1995, at the age of 16, Pirlo made his Serie A debut for Brescia against Reggiana, on 21 May, becoming Brescia’s youngest player to make an appearance in Serie A.
Since making his Serie A debut, Pirlo has wowed audiences all over the world.
Football is so tribal, especially in Italy, that it is very rare to find a world-class player who transcends club colours and national boundaries. Along with the likes of Javier Zanetti, Paolo Maldini and Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo is adored by almost everyone.
He is worshiped and adored around the world because of his unique and elegant looks. He is instantly recognisable with or without his flowing locks and trademark beard. Some fans call him L’architetto (The Architecht), a name bestowed on him because of his style and how he effrtlessly moves the ball and his team-mates like a chess-master.
Andrea Pirlo is everything that a footballer should be. He is slow, he is weak, he doesn’t head, tackle or sprint, but such is his genius from a technical and mental viewpoint that he is still untouchable.
Indeed, we now live in the age of the athlete. Rule changes, medical advancements, synthetic footballs and the subsequent tactical evolution and increased speed of the game have pushed most artists of Pirlo’s like out of the sport. He is more suited to the 1980s when the game was slower, more technical and effective total pressing was still years away.
After three seasons on the Inter books, Andrea Pirlo was sold to rivals A.C. Milan for 33 billion Italian lire (€17,043,078) on 30 June 2001. It was at Milan, in particular under manager Carlo Ancelotti, where Pirlo made big strides in developing into a world class player, and one of the best deep-lying playmakers and set-piece specialists in the world, as he went on to achieve notable domestic and international success during his time with the club. Pirlo later recalled the period he has spent in Milan with Ancelotti: “He changed my career, putting me in front of the defence. Pirlo was deployed as a deep-lying playmaker in front of the defence, which allowed him to play alongside other talented attacking midfielders, such as Rivaldo, Rui Costa and eventually Kaká.
Andrea Pirlo became an integral part of the Rossoneri’s midfield, forming a formidable partnership with Gennaro Gattuso, as well as with Clarence Seedorf and Massimo Ambrosini, who also supported his playmaking role defensively. Pirlo was given the nickname the metronome during his time at the club, for the way in which he set the team’s rhythm.
In A.C. Milan Andrea Pirlo had a total of 401 apps, 41 goals in his ten year tenure as a Rossoneri player. He also won severeal titles like Serie A: 2003–04, 2010–11, Coppa Italia: 2002–03, Supercoppa Italiana: 2004, UEFA Champions League: 2002–03, 2006–07, UEFA Super Cup: 2003, 2007, FIFA Club World Cup: 2007.
When Andrea told me that he was joining us, the first thing I thought was: “God exists”. A player of his level and ability, not to mention that he was free, I think it was the signing of the century! – Gianluigi Buffon on Pirlo’s trnasfer to Juventus in 2011. Juventus signed him on a free transfer on a contract until 2014. There he played under Antonio Conte who partnered him alongside young midfielders like Marchisio and Arturo Vidal, this allowed Andrea Pirlo to function creatively as a deep-lying playmaker, while Marchisio and Vidal supported him defensively.