With Euro 2012 rapidly approaching, we here at JuventiKnows are profiling the different Juventus players participating in the summer tournament. This year, seven of our Scudetto winners are going to Poland and Ukraine as part of Cesare Prandelli’s Italian national side as the coach – himself a former midfielder for the Bianconeri – called up – Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Claudio Marchisio, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Emanuele Giaccherini and today’s featured star, Andrea Pirlo.
Birthplace and Birthday:
Flero, Lombardy. May 19 1979.
l’Architetto (the architect), il Metronomo (the metronome)
Estimated Market Value:
€ 10.000.000 (via Transfermarkt.it)
Title, Year, (Club)
3 Scudetti: 2004, 2011 (Milan), 2012 (Juventus)
1 Coppa Italia: 2003 (Milan)
1 Supercoppa Italiana: 2004 (Milan)
2 Champions League: 2003, 2007 (Milan)
2 UEFA Super Cup: 2003, 2007 (Milan)
1 FIFA Club World Cup: 2007 (Milan)
1 UEFA U-21 European Championship: 2000
Bronze Medal 2004 Summer Olympics
FIFA World Cup 2006
Team Supported Growing Up:
Brescia, Inter. (no comment).
Right – although both of Andrea’s feet are known to be rather able.
Level of Fame:
Very high, worldwide. You will have to be either very young or very unfamiliar with football to not have a fairly good idea who Andrea Pirlo is. One of the most significant midfielders to grace the game throughout the 2000s (see his trophy haul above), talk of him nearing his expiration date at the end of his Milan tenure was positively ridiculed given his subsequent performances for both Juventus and Gli Azzurri, and Pirlo is generally touted as Italy’s biggest profile along with Gigi Buffon.
Pirlo was never a man of many words. As former Nazionale coach Marcello Lippi once said; he prefers to do the talking with his feet. Andrea is a very private person who tries to keep his personal life far from the probing of the press, rarely giving interviews and generally keeping his emotions to himself.
That said, he is still very much a leader on the pitch, dictating play and always the one sought out by his teammates to create openings through his superb vision and otherworldly passing abilities.
As touched on above, Pirlo is unrivalled in his ability to read the game. He tends to be aware of every other player’s position on the pitch, sometimes even before they are aware of it themselves. Like a grandmaster of chess, he seems to be always several moves ahead – both in terms of the passes he makes, and the ones he decides not to, doing a characteristic dribble or two as he computes alternative options.
Pirlo is absolutely world class when applied appropriately, i.e. as a deep-lying regista in midfield. This past season he even contributed both an uncharacteristic amount of energetic running and some vital ‘professional’ tackles and free kicks when play was broken up, adding to his hitherto limited defensive game.
One might call it a weakness that he *must* have an idea behind every pass he makes, which – given his position right in front of the defence – can sometimes lead to dangerous situations when once in a while he is dispossessed whilst dribbling around, pondering the right move.
Pirlo is not a versatile player. Period. He can be viewed as something of a tactical straight jacket, as he must be played centrally and has to be ‘protected’ by preferably two other midfielders if he is to truly work his magic. When that happens, however, he very rarely fails to deliver.
Status on Club Team:
Pirlo was always going to be a silent “top dog” on any team, given his well-deserved good reputation amongst his colleagues and lovers of calcio in general, and as he quickly turned out to be every bit as vital to Juventus as he had been to Milan in the past, he was welcomed with open arms, only to be further praised by teammates and tifosi alike the season went on.
In terms of playing merit, he is top of the pile; his reputation along with his instant impact catapulted him within the vicinity of such heroes as Buffon, Chiellini, and Marchisio (Del Piero is beyond any such comparisons, of course), in terms of club status and fans’ appreciation, only lacking the Bianconero history of the aforementioned players.
YouTube Comp with Questionable Music:
2011-2012 Club Season:
Any lingering doubts as to his ability to contribute to the Juventus team after being deemed surplus to requirements at Milan faded faster than you can say “that was fast”, as Pirlo all the way from pre-season proved to anyone watching what both Prandelli and Marotta had recognized all along; that he still had plenty to offer.
He was arguably the single most important player on the championship winning side of 2012, and was even chosen as overall player of the season by many outlets. Leading the Serie A in number of assists, key passes, and successful passes overall, he boasts seasonal records that see him amongst the 2-3 best passers in Europe. One can only imagine his assist-tally, had the Juventus attacking players been slightly less wasteful…
Status in National Team:
As Cesare Prandelli has rejuvenated the Italian national team after the disaster that was the World Cup in 2010, Pirlo is no longer only a key player for Gli Azzzurri as he has been for the past decade, but also one of the veterans who is expected to carry the team. He is, in short, the heartbeat of the team, and a lot rests on his notoriously lowered and somewhat fragile shoulders. Fortunately, he has proven before that he is quite capable of coping with that.
Expected Performance for National Team:
As should be fairly obvious from all of the above, a lot is expected from Pirlo going into Euro 2012. He will probably be the most influential outfield player on the team, but one thing is his individual contributions, another the way in which the team will be able to take advantage of his presence. If payers such as Cassano, Balotelli and the Juve contingent are able to play at their finest, and the team set-up will be able to protect him from being pressured out of games, he will shine like a beacon of football perfection. If not, well, he is a guarantee for moments of brilliance, but will not necessarily put the ball in the net for you. It’s hard to judge Italy’s chances in a tough group, but if they do succeed, rest assured it will be with Pirlo as a main protagonist.
Andrea Pirlo can be likened to German philosopher Immanuel Kant, as both men led apparently very dull lives outside of their professions, while at the same time they profoundly changed the very conception of their respective fields of expertise.
YouTube Comp Without Questionable Music:
In one word: