Andrea Pirlo is a World Cup-winning Italian footballer who now plays for Serie A club Juventus as well as the Italian national side. He is mostly used as a deep-lying playmaker for both Juventus and Italy, but he is also admired for his technique, dribbling, control, remarkable vision, imaginative play, accurate passing skills, and long-distance shooting. He began his football career with Brescia, where he made his debut against Reggina, and afterwards went to Internazionale, but he was unable to get into the first team. Pirlo joined Milan for 35 billion euros after three seasons with Internazionale, where he won two UEFA Champions Leagues, two European Super Cups (in 2003 and 2007), and several more league games. Following that, he was signed by Juventus in 2011 on a contract that would continue until 2014. He participated in the 2012 Supercoppa Italiana versus Napoli while at Juventus. He won two UEFA Champions Leagues (2003 and 2007), two European Super Cups (2003 and 2007), two Serie A championships (2004 and 2011), a FIFA Club World Cup (2007), an Italian Super Cup (2004), and the Coppa Italia in 2003 while playing for AC Milan. With Juventus, he won another Serie A title and the Italian Super Cup in 2012. Pirlo has represented Italy’s junior teams at the U15, U18, and U21 levels, captaining and guiding the latter to victory in the 2000 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship as the tournament’s Golden Player and Top Scorer. He joined the Italian senior squad during the World Cup 2002 qualification round and captained the national team to a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics. Because his long passes regularly opened up goal-scoring opportunities for the Italy national football team, his teammates nicknamed him “l’architetto” (the architect).
Andrea Pirlo, signed by Brescia, made his Serie A debut against Reggiana on May 21, 1995, at the age of 16. His performance impressed ‘Inter Milan’ coach Mircea Lucescu, who included him in his team. His time with the club was not particularly fruitful; he was only seen on the field on occasion. However, Inter loaned him to Reggina for a brief while during the 1999-2000 season, where he performed admirably.
The next season, he was loaned out once more, this time to his previous club Brescia. Carlo Mazzone, their manager, was the first to deploy him in front of the defence. He would lead the squad to a solid seventh-place finish in the league while playing alongside his childhood idol Roberto Baggio.
After three seasons on the books of Inter, he was purchased by A.C. Milan. There, he met the team’s manager, Carlo Ancelotti, who would steer his career on a new path that would eventually lead to him being a world-class player. On September 20, 2001, he made his UEFA Cup debut against the Belarusian team ‘BATE Borisov.’ Milan won the game by a score of 2-0.
Pirlo spent the following decade as a central midfielder with Milan, winning the Coppa Italia (2003), Supercoppa Italiana (2004), FIFA Club World Cup (2007), two Serie A championships (2004 and 2011), two UEFA Champions Leagues (2003 and 2007), and two UEFA Super Cups (2003 and 2007). He participated in 401 games for the club and scored 41 goals.
He departed Milan in 2011 after reaching an agreement with the club. He joined Juventus on a free transfer and made his Serie A debut against Parma, winning 4-1.
Prior to Pirlo’s arrival at Juventus, the club had been without a trophy since 2003. He helped the team win four Serie A titles (2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015), two Supercoppa Italiana titles (2012 and 2013), and a Coppa Italia (2015). He appeared in 164 games with them, scoring 19 goals.
In 2015, he joined with ‘New York City FC,’ a Major League Soccer franchise, where he has remained to this day.
Career Opportunities Abroad
Andrea Pirlo captained Italy’s U21 squad in the ‘European Championship’ in 2000, winning both the best player and top scorer titles. He was a member of Italy’s squadrons to the Summer Olympic Games in 2000 and 2004, receiving a bronze medal in the latter.
He made his senior debut at the age of 23 in a 2-0 win against Azerbaijan. He was instrumental in his country’s World Cup qualification campaign in 2006.
He scored Italy’s first goal of the tournament against Ghana and assisted Fabio Grosso in scoring Italy’s first goal against Germany in the semi-final on July 4.
On July 9, he maintained his outstanding form in the final against France. It was a hard-fought encounter that ended in a penalty shoot-out after both sides failed to break the 1-1 tie. He was the first Italian player to take a penalty kick and convert it into a goal. Italy would win the match and become World Champion for the first time in 24 years. Pirlo was selected ‘Man of the Match’ in both the semi-final and final games.
In the 2012 Euro Cup, he was the vice-captain under captain Gianluigi Buffon. They defeated Ireland, England, and Germany on their way to the final, when they were defeated 4-0 by Spain.
While he announced his retirement from international football following the 2014 World Cup, he rejoined the Italian squad for the 2016 European Cup qualifications. However, his relocation to the United States had unforeseen consequences. On May 23, 2016, it was reported that he has been left out of the 30-man Euro 2016 team.
Achievements & Awards
Andrea Pirlo was made a Knight in 2004 (formal title: ‘Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana’). He was promoted to Officer (‘Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana’) two years later.
At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he received the ‘Bronze Ball’ as well as the ‘Top Assist Provider’ honour.
Andrea Pirlo was awarded the ‘Pallone d’Argento’ in 2011-12 for having “the most fair and for football skill, sports accuracy, excellent morality, and kindness towards the weak,” according to the ‘Unione Stampa Sportiva Italiana’ (Italian Sports Press Union).
He was named Serie A Footballer of the Year for the second time in a row in 2012-14.