Who is Andrea Pirlo?
Who is Andrea Pirlo?
Andrea Pirlo is an Italian-born midfielder. Over his 22 year career, Pirlo established himself as a playmaker from the middle of the pitch. He has played club football in both Italy and the United States and is Italy's fifth most-capped player of all time. Pirlo made It possible for his clubs to win titles and currently leads Serie A club Juventus as their head coach.
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Pirlo's Early life
Andrea Pirlo was born in Fiero, Italy in the Spring of 1979. Pirlo and his brother, Ivan grew up in the province of Brescia with their parents who owned a metal trading company. Pirlo began his football career at an early age at the local youth team in Fiero. After a short time playing with Fiero, a young Pirlo moved clubs to Voluntas. In 1994, Pirlo was recruited as a member of Brescia's junior program where he began to establish his dominance as a forward.
After a year on the junior team at Brescia, Pirlo was promoted to the first team for his first Serie A match in the spring of 1995 at the age of 16. Pirlo still holds the record for the youngest player to ever play on the first team at the club. However, Pirlo did not spend much time on the first team before getting sent back to the junior side. The club was relegated to Serie B soon after. It was then that Pirlo returned to the first team and helped the club gain promotion through winning the Serie B title. At the end of the 1997-98 season, after 3 years with Brescia, Pirlo was transferred to the much bigger club, Inter Milan.
Serie A Star
Pirlo's start in top-notch Serie A football was a slow one. His first season with Inter Milan saw Pirlo left out of the first team. After a year with the club, Pirlo was put on loan to Reggiana where he had a successful season in the lower league. After returning from loan, Pirlo made a few appearances on the Inter first team before being loaned out again to his former club, Brescia. It was here where Pirlo developed his signature long pass that made him such a good playmaker. After 3 years at Inter, Pirlo was sold across town to A.C. Milan. Pirlo’s time at Milan cemented him into the football history books. It was here that the attacking midfielder shifted positions and moved a bit deeper on the pitch.
Pirlo’s talent as a creative force became quickly apparent in his first season with the club. Pirlo and A.C Milan finished fourth in the UEFA Cup, the club’s highest placement in the history of the competition. It was not until his second season with the club that Pirlo truly began to shine. The deep-lying playmaker led Serie A in successful passes, successful balls, passes played, and ball possession. His contribution brought much success to his side as A.C. Milan would go on to beat Roma for the Coppa Italia. A little later that year, Pirlo’s creativity led A.C. Milan to win the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Supercup. Pirlo and his side carried on their success to the next season with a dominant performance in Serie A. The team won the Scudetto and the Supercoppa Italiana that year.
In the following seasons, Pirlo continued to add to his impressive number of career assists. His deep passes into the attacking zone set his team up for continual scoring success.
However, the 2004-05 and 05-06 seasons were not the best for the club. A.C. Milan was able to go far in both Serie A football and UEFA competitions but continuously came up short. Pirlo continued to produce creativity for his side but missed a heart breaking penalty in the 2005 Champions League that cost his side the match.
Pirlo and Milan bounced back in the following season with an impressive run in the Champions League. Pirlo and his club lifted their second Champions League title at the end of the competition. They went on to win the UEFA Supercup for the second time as well with Pirlo being named the man of the match. The following season was not as successful for the club as they did not qualify for the Champions League. Real success would not return to the club until the 2010-11 season with a Serie Championship. However, Pirlo barely contributed to the season with only 17 appearances.
After being released from the club through a mutual agreement to not renew his contract, Pirlo was thrown into the free transfer market. He was quickly signed by another Italian giant, Juventus. Pirlo immediately started contributing to his new side. In his first game with Juve, Pirlo contributed two assists and completed 110 passes. He would continue to make scoring chances for his teammates all season long and even contribute a good amount of goals himself. Thanks to his contributions, Pirlo and Juventus lifted the Serie A title. The first the club had won in a nine-year stretch.
Over the next two seasons, from 2012 to 2014, Pirlo would continue his impressive playmaking from deep. Juventus continued to dominate Serie A football with two more Scudettos back to back in 2013 and 2014. Throughout these seasons, Pirlo was nominated for the Ballon d'Or and a plethora of other titles. In his final year with Juventus, Pirlo set tied the record for most goals off of free kicks for the club. He also helped his side lift their fourth consecutive Serie A title. Classic Juventus shirts from this period are some of the most classic Pirlo shirts of all time. While at Juventus he dominated the creativity on the pitch and always set his team up for great success. He announced his leave from Juventus at the end of the 2014-15 season.
Coming to America
After 493 appearances in Serie A , Pirlo made the move to America to play for MLS side New York City. His first season in the US was an absolutely dominant showing. The Italian playmaker continued his legacy as a playmaker setting up shot after shot for his teammates. In 2016, Pirlo continued to dominate creativity for his side and was named to the MLS All-Star team at the end of the season. The following season saw a drastic decline in Pirlo's physical ability and he soon announced his retirement from professional football.
The Italian National Football Team
Pirlo made his national team debut at the age of 23. After much success on the U-21 team, Pirlo helped his country qualify for Euro 2004. Italy was eliminated early from that competition. In 2006, Pirlo was a key factor in Italy's qualification for the World Cup. Pirlo was a huge contributor to the Italian success throughout the tournament. Winning multiple Man of the match titles, Pirlo had several great assists and free kicks. Italy went all the way in 2006, winning the World Cup in an exciting shootout against France.
In 2012, Pirlo was named vice-captain of the Italian National football team before the qualifying run for Euro 2012. After qualifying, Italy made it all the way to the final where they lost to Spain. Pirlo had been named man of the match a record three times throughout the tournament.
In 2014, Pirlo contributed to Italy's qualifying run for the World Cup. During the group stage, the team played a great first game against England but was later eliminated from the group stage. Pirlo played his final match for the Italian National Football team during a qualifier for Euro 2016 but was later left off of the roster for the actual tournament.
The Trophy Cabinet
Pirlo was a member of some of the most successful sides in Serie A football. His contribution as a deep-lying playmaker made it possible for his clubs to have an offense presence. During his time in Milan, he secured 2 Serie A titles, a Coppa Italiana, and a Supercoppa Italiana. He helped his club dominate European football as well with two Champions League titles, two UEFA Supercups, and a FIFA Club World cup. Classic Milan shirts from Pirlo's time with the club are some of the most memorable.
Pirlo continued to fill his trophy case during his time at Juventus. In his time with the club, Pirlo earned four consecutive Scudetto's. In addition to winning the league four times in a row, Pirlo helped his team lift a Coppa Italia and two Supercoppas. Pirlo was named Serie A Footballer of the Year 3 separate times.
As a member of the national team, Pirlo lifted a World Cup and an Olympic bronze medal. Pirlo was also named to the 2006 FIFA World Cup All-star team. During that competition, he won the Bronze Ball, Man of the Match, and The Top Assist provider.
In 2019, Pirlo was named to the Italian Football Hall of Fame.
The Italian Midfielder shared a pitch with Pirlo at Milan and as part of the Italian National Football Team. The two were responsible for some of the best defence seen in both Serie A and the World Cup.
Pirlo played with the Brazilian attacking midfielder at AC Milan. Many of Kaka’s goals were assisted by Pirlo’s long ball.
The Ukrainian striker shared the pitch with Pirlo at Milan. Shevchenko was the recipient of many longballs from Pirlo that resulted in points for their side.
The legendary Brazilian defender shared the pitch with Pirlo at Milan during the end of his career. The two were responsible for a great defensive presence at the club.
Where Is He Now?
After hanging up his football boots, Pirlo began his coaching career with Juventus. He managed their U23 team. Nine days later, he was named manager of Juventus' first team. Pirlo serves as Juventus' manager to this day.
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