THIRTY-TWO years ago on a day like this, was born one of the greatest gifts that Italian and football in general has ever seen. It was Wednesday afternoon when the news were announced, the news about Pirlo leaving Milan. I felt really sad, not only because of his departure but also because I knew that he was no longer a perfect fit in our squad like he once was.
At the age of 16 Andrea Pirlo started his career in recently relegated Brescia, where he used to play in an AMF position. After bouncing from Inter to Reggina to Brescia, Pirlo found himself at Milan. It was under the reign of Carlo Ancelotti that Pirlo discovered the position where he would attract the attention from all football fans around the world. Pirlo changed the definition of a DMF, who until then had to had mostly defensive characteristics. He created “a new position” in a sport where most of the times the brain of the team played behind the strikers.
“Il Metronomo” is one of his nicknames, and it describes him perfectly on the pitch. His ability to control the tempo of the game is notorious, and there are not many players not only in recent times but in the history of the sport, to have the accuracy and the technique that Pirlo has when he has the ball on his feet. As Lippi once said : “Pirlo is our silent leader, he lets his feet talk on his behalf “. He can put a ball on the feet of another player from 30 meters away, he can shoot freekicks and corner kicks as if the ball obeyed his thoughts, he can split a defense with only one pass.
But Pirlo’s on the pitch attributes are not the only thing that he brought to Milan. Players like him, with his vision, his elegance and his technique come once a decade. He moves and plays whit such grace that he got another nickname : “Trilli Campanellino”. The last player I think that might compare in terms of talent might be his mentor, his idol Roberto Baggio or Zidane (not even Xavi nor Totti). He had a lot to show off, he had a lot of reasons and talent to be arrogant, but Pirlo never was. He always stayed humble, he always kept his integrity intact. Surely a role model to follow not only in football, but also in life.
He won many things with Milan and with his national team : Champions League, Scudetto, Coppa Italia, World Cup and other trophies. In both Milan and “La Nazionale” , Pirlo played an essential role, he was the motor of both teams for almost a decade.
With a palmarès that many would like to have but only few do and a behavior to admire on and off the pitch, Pirlo has been the portray of everything the game is about, everything that Milan is about. He is class and intelligence in the purest of its states. Its really hard to say goodbye, but he is smart enough to know what’s best not only for him but for the club as well, and I know that wherever he goes, no matter what other shirt he puts on, underneath it, he will be wearing his second skin : the red and black one.
Happy birthday, I hope you are as successful and happy as you were in Milan.
Grazie mille per tutto, Andrea. We’ll never be able to repay you for everything you gave us and taught us, “Maestro”.