Pirlo playing for Juventus in 2012
|Full name||Andrea Pirlo|
|Date of birth||May 19, 1979|
|Place of birth||Flero, Lombardy, Italy|
|Height||1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|1999–2000||→ Reggina (loan)||28||(6)|
|2001||→ Brescia (loan)||10||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 28 April 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Andrea Pirlo, Ufficiale OMRI (born 19 May 1979), is an Italian World Cup-winning footballer who plays for Serie A club Juventus and for the Italian national team. He is usually deployed as a deep-lying playmaker for both Juventus and Italy and is regarded as a leading exponent of this position. Praised for his technique, dribbling, control, incredible vision, inventive play and his accurate passing ability, he is also a set-piece specialist and is known for his long distance shooting and passing. Fellow players on the Italian team gave him the nickname l'architetto ("the architect"), because his long passes frequently set up goal-scoring opportunities for the Italy national football team. In recent years, Juventus fans also dub him il professore ("the professor") and Mozart, as a fun reference to the Austrian composer's prodigious ability.
Pirlo has played for the Italian youth teams U15, U18 and U21, captaining and leading the latter to victory in the 2000 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship as the Golden Player and Top Scorer of the tournament. He joined the Italian senior side during the qualification round for World Cup 2002 and captained the national team to a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics. Later, he was instrumental in their victory in the 2006 World Cup, finishing as the top assist provider. He was named man of the match three times, including the final, more than any other player in the tournament, and ultimately won the Bronze Ball (third best player in tournament) also being elected to be part of the Team of the Tournament. He was also elected as part of the Euro 2012 Team of the Tournament, after leading Italy to the final, winning three-man of the match awards in the process, the most of any player along with Andrés Iniesta.
With Milan, he won two UEFA Champions League (2003 and 2007), two European Super Cups (2003 and 2007), two Serie A titles (2004 and 2011), a FIFA Club World Cup (2007) an Italian Super Cup (2004) and the Coppa Italia in 2003. In 2012, he added another Serie A title and Italian Super Cup with Juventus. He came in third, second and fourth in IFFHS World Playmaker of the Year awards in 2006, 2007 and 2012, respectively. He also came in fourth in the 2012 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. He placed 7th in the 2007 FIFA World Player, 5th in the 2007 Ballon d'Or and 7th in the 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or award. He was also named as part of the 2006 FIFPro World XI and the 2012 UEFA Team of the Year. In 2012, Pirlo was also elected as Serie A Footballer of the Year, and was named as part of the Serie A Team of the Year.
Early years 
In 1995, at the age of 16, Pirlo made his debut for Brescia against Reggina. After breaking into the Brescia first team, Pirlo was spotted by Internazionale coach Mircea Lucescu, who signed the playmaker. Pirlo was unable to break into the first squad, however, and Inter finished eighth in the 1998–99 Serie A campaign. Inter loaned Pirlo to Reggina for the 1999–2000 season. After an impressive season, he returned to Internazionale but was once again unable to break into the first team, making just four league appearances and spent the second half of the season on loan at former club, Brescia.
Club career 
It was at Milan where he found his true strides developing into a world class player and one of the best deep-lying playmakers and set-piece specialists in the world. With Milan, he won two Serie A tites and was an integral part of Milan's midfield, as they went on to win two Champions League titles in 2003 and 2007, also helping them to the final in 2005, in which he finished as the second highest assist provider of the tournament with 4 assists. He also won an Italian Cup, a Supercoppa Italiana and two UEFA Super Cups with Milan in 2003 and 2007, as well as their first FIFA World Club Cup title in 2006. His most forgettable incident, however, was probably the penalty miss during 2005 UEFA Champions League Final, as his spot kick was saved by Jerzy Dudek.
Pirlo started his career as an offensive midfielder until coach Carlo Mazzone developed a deep-seated playmaking role while at Brescia, with Roberto Baggio in the attacking midfield role. A notable moment in his Brescia career was his long pass which assisted Roberto Baggio's late equaliser against Juventus at the Delle Alpi Stadium, in 2001. Fatih Terim and Carlo Ancelotti further-developed this role at Milan, to allow Pirlo to play alongside other talented attacking midfielders, such as Rui Costa and eventually Kaka. Since then, he formed a formidable partnership with Gennaro Gattuso (as well as with Clarence Seedorf, who also supported his playmaking role) in the midfield and has earned the nickname the metronome for the way he sets the team's rhythm. He led Serie A in the 2002–03 season in four special categories – passes played (2589), ball possession (123 hours played and 39 minutes), successful balls (661), and successful passes (2093). This implies that he averaged almost 90 passes per game. He led Milan in minutes played for the 2006–07 season with 2,782. In October 2007, he was nominated for the both the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year and the 2007 World's Best Playmaker Awards but they went to Milan teammate Kaká instead. After Kaká and coach Carlo Ancelotti left Milan in the summer of 2009, Chelsea tested Milan's resolve by bidding $12 million and Claudio Pizarro for Pirlo. The club rejected the offer and Pirlo was said to be contemplating a transfer request. On 5 August, club owner Silvio Berlusconi decided not to sell Pirlo, who said he was overjoyed and wanted to end his career at Milan. On 21 October 2009, Pirlo scored a notable 30 meter goal in Milan's 3–2 win over Real Madrid.
Milan played host to Genoa on 25 September 2010, Pirlo provided a lovely lifted ball over the top of the defense to set striker Zlatan Ibrahimović free to score the solitary goal of the game. On 2 October Pirlo scored a 40-yard goal against Parma to give Milan their first away win of the 2010–11 season. On 14 May 2011, Pirlo appeared in his last match for Milan, coming on as a half-time substitute for Massimo Ambrosini as the club celebrated their Title with a 4–1 victory over Cagliari. Four days later, Pirlo confirmed that he would be leaving Milan at the end of the 2010–11 season, after a mutual decision not to renew his contract. In his last season in Milan, Pirlo only appeared in the league 17 times notching just one goal and three assists.
In 2011, Juventus signed Pirlo as a free agent on a contract that will last until 2014. His debut with Juventus was a friendly match against Sporting Clube de Portugal, which they lost 2–1. His first competitive match with La Vecchia Signora was the Serie A opening match against Parma at home and tallied two assists, for Stephan Lichtsteiner and Claudio Marchisio, in a 4–1 victory. Antonio Conte played him alongside younger midfielders Marchisio and new signing Arturo Vidal in a three-man midfield. His first goal for Juventus was a free kick against Catania on 18 February 2012 securing a 3–1 victory for the Old Lady and put the club back at the top of the Serie A table, above his former side Milan. On 18 March, Pirlo scored in a 5–0 demolition of Fiorentina and after the game dedicated the win to Fabrice Muamba, who suffered a cardiac arrest playing for Bolton Wanderers during a match against Tottenham Hotspur the same day.
He finished the season winning the 2011–12 Serie A after helping the Old Lady secure a 2–0 victory over Cagliari Calcio, the midfield general also provided the most assists in the Serie A season, with 13. Pirlo also found the back of the net three times in the league as he was named to the Serie A "Team of the Year" along with midfielder partner Arturo Vidal, proving that he still has what it takes to cut it at the top level following his departure from Milan. Pirlo and Juventus also finished runners up to S.S.C. Napoli in the Coppa Italia final. Pirlo's fine form in the 2011–12 season, in which he led Juventus to the league title, the Supercoppa Italiana and Coppa Italia Final, as well as leading Italy to the final of Euro 2012, saw him nominated for the 2012 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, in which he finished 4th. He was also elected to be part of the ESM 2012 Team of the Year.
Pirlo played in the 2012 Supercoppa Italiana in Beijing on 11 August 2012 against Napoli, helping Juventus to a 4–2 win in extra time. Pirlo curled in a free-kick to seal a 2–0 defeat of Parma on the opening day of the new Serie A season. The goal caused much controversy, as the Parma players protested that it had not gone over the line, and replays proved inconclusive. In the following league match against Udinese on 2 September, Pirlo helped to win a penalty and assisted Giovinco's second goal of the match as Juventus went on to defeat the home side 4–1. On 29 September, Pirlo opened the scoring when he dispatched a trade mark free kick to send Juventus on their way to a 4–1 defeat of Roma. Pirlo was nominated for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or, along with Juventus and Italy team mate Gianluigi Buffon, following their performances throughout the calendar year. Pirlo provided three assists for Juventus during the Group Stage, helping them to top their group undefeated and advance to the knockout stages for first time since the 2008–09 tournament. Pirlo was also elected as Serie A Footballer of the Year, as well as the best midfielder and Italian Footballer of the Year. He was named as part of the Serie A Team of the Year. Pirlo also won the Pallone Azzurro, given to the best player of the year in the Italian National Team, as well as placing fourth in the IFFHS World Playmaker of the Year.
International career 
Senior team 
Pirlo is a silent leader. He speaks with his feet.
To pass the ball to Andrea Pirlo is like to hide it in a safe.
Is he the best player of his generation? Not quite, but he is the most important.—Michael Cox
Pirlo captained Italy to an Under-21 European Championship in 2000 (wearing the number 10 jersey and winning the awards for best player and top scorer) and to a semi-final finish in 2002. Pirlo played for Italy at the 2000 Summer Olympics and helped Italy to win the bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics. His first major tournament with the Italian Senior Squad was Euro 2004.
2006 World Cup 
Pirlo was a member of the Italian Squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He had assured Italy's participation in the tournament after scoring two free kicks in a World Cup Qualifier against Scotland. In Italy's first match in the tournament, Pirlo scored the opening goal against Ghana, and subsequently set up a goal for Vincenzo Iaquinta to seal a 2–0 victory, as the midfielder was named Man of the Match. In the second match, he set up a diving header for Alberto Gilardino from a set piece which proved to be vital in the 1–1 draw against the United States.
In the semi-final against Germany, he assisted on the opening goal in the dying minutes, and was again named Man of the Match, as Italy triumphed 2–0 over the hosts. In the final against France, his corner kick produced Marco Materazzi's equalizing header ten minutes after France had opened the score. The match went to a penalty shoot-out, in which he scored. He was named Man of the Match for a third time, and was voted third-best player of the tournament, winning the Bronze Ball and finishing as the top assist provider. He was named as part of the 2006 FIFPro XI for his performances.
Post World Cup 
On 17 June 2008, Pirlo netted a penalty as Italy defeated France 2–0, to send their rivals and World Cup runners-up crashing out of the European Championships at the group stage. Italy lost on penalty kicks to eventual winners Spain in the quarterfinals, as Pirlo and Milan teammate Gennaro Gattuso were suspended for the match.
Pirlo was not able to play the first two games in the 2010 World Cup for Italy due to recent injuries. Pirlo is Italy's key man because in the 2010 world cup they were described as rubbish without Pirlo. He came off the bench for Italy late in the match on 24 June against Slovakia. Even with his help in orchestrating a renewed Italian offense, Pirlo could not prevent Italy from being knocked out of the first round.
Euro 2012 
Because of his good performances in leading Juventus to becoming Italian champions, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli included the playmaker in his 32-man provisional squad for the Euros. Pirlo provided the cutting ball from which Antonio di Natale scored the opening goal of Italy's 1–1 draw with World and European champions Spain in the opening round of group play on 10 June. Pirlo then opened the scoring himself, scoring from a direct free-kick in their second match against Croatia on 14 June. In the final group match against Ireland, Pirlo set up Antonio Cassano's goal from a corner kick to help Italy take a 1–0 lead. Italy eventually won 2–0 and progressed to the knock-out stage of the tournament as runners-up in Group C.
On 24 June, Pirlo produced a man-of-the-match performance against England as Italy won on penalties 4–2 after the game had finished 0–0 in extra time. Pirlo scored in the shoot-out with an audacious chipped penalty down the centre of the goal, known as a Panenka. Following the match Pirlo spoke of his eloquent penalty, stating, "At the moment I saw the goalkeeper making strange movements, so I waited for him to move and hit it like that... It was easier for me to chip it at that stage. Maybe my effort put some pressure on England."
In the semi-final round, on 28 June, Pirlo once again put up a man-of-the-match performance against Germany, a match which Italy won 2–1. Following Italy's success in the semifinals, in which Pirlo helped Italy reach the final against Spain by starting the play which led to Balotelli's first goal, Italy were defeated 4–0 against Spain in the final.
Style of play 
Pirlo is usually deployed as a deep-lying playmaker for both Juventus and Italy and is regarded as a leading exponent of this position. Praised for his technique, dribbling, control, incredible vision, inventive play and his accurate passing ability, he is also a set-piece specialist and is known for his long distance shooting and passing. Fellow players on the Italian team gave him the nickname "l'architetto" (the architect), because his long passes frequently set up goalscoring opportunities for Italy.
Personal life 
Pirlo was born in Flero, Lombardy, Italy and started his professional career with provincial giants Brescia Calcio. His brother, Ivan, plays for a Serie C2 club in Brescia. Pirlo and his wife Deborah Roversi married in 2001 and have two children: son Niccolò (born 2003) and daughter Angela (born 2006). In early years a rumour started that Pirlo descended from the Sinti, a Gypsy population, who lived in the north of Italy in the last century. Pirlo has always denied this but before Euro 2008 some organisations asked him not to play with the Azzurri in order to protest against the status of Roma and Sinti people in Italy.
Pirlo's father founded a metal trading company in Brescia in 1982 called Elg Steel. Pirlo himself retains a stake in the family business. With regards to his wealth from his family business and footballing career, Pirlo stated in an interview with Italian Vanity Fair magazine that he never talks about money.
Pirlo is known for being a wine connoisseur and he also runs his own vineyard in Italy, which produces around 15-20,000 bottles a year.
Career statistics 
- As of 28 April 2013
|Team||Season||League||Cup||Europe[nb 1]||Other[nb 2]||Total|
|Italy national team|
International goals 
||Milan, Italy||Scotland||2–0||Win||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification|
||Dublin, Ireland||Republic of Ireland||2–1||Win||Friendly|
||Hanover, Germany||Ghana||2–0||Win||2006 FIFA World Cup|
||Genoa, Italy||Georgia||2–0||Win||UEFA Euro 2008 qualification|
||Zurich, Switzerland||France||2–0||Win||UEFA Euro 2008|
||Podgorica, Montenegro||Montenegro||2–0||Win||2010 FIFA World Cup qualification|
||Florence, Italy||Faroe Islands||5–0||Win||UEFA Euro 2012 qualification|
||Poznań, Poland||Croatia||1–1||Draw||UEFA Euro 2012|
||Yerevan, Armenia||Armenia||1–0||Win||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
- Serie A: (2) 2003–04, 2010–11
- Coppa Italia: (1) 2002–03
- Supercoppa Italiana: (1) 2004
- UEFA Champions League: (2) 2002–03, 2006–07
- UEFA Super Cup: (2) 2003, 2007
- FIFA Club World Cup: (1) 2007
- UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship: 2000
- Olympic Bronze Medal: 2004
- FIFA World Cup: 2006
- UEFA European Football Championship Runner-up: 2012
- UEFA European Under-21 Championship Golden Player: 2000
- UEFA European Under-21 Championship Top Scorer: 2000
- 2006 FIFA World Cup Man of the Match: vs. Ghana, vs. Germany, Final vs. France
- 2006 FIFA World Cup All-star team
- 2006 FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball
- 2006 FIFA World Cup Top Assist Provider
- IFFHS World's Best Playmaker: Third place 2006, Second place 2007, 9th place 2009, 4th place 2012
- FIFPro World XI: 2006
- Ballon d'Or: 2006 (9th place), 2007 (5th place), 2012 (7th place)
- FIFA World Player of the Year: 2007 (7th place)
- UEFA Euro 2008 Man of the Match: vs. Romania
- ESM Team of the Year: 2011–12
- Pallone d'Argento: 2011–12
- Pallone Azzurro: 2011–12
- UEFA Euro 2012 Man of the Match: vs. Croatia, vs. England, vs. Germany
- UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament 2012
- UEFA Best Player in Europe Award 2012 (4th place)
- Juventus player of the season: 2011–2012
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2012
- 2011–12 Serie A Top Assist Provider
- Serie A team of the Year: 2012
- Serie A Midfielder of the Year: 2012
- Serie A Italian Player of the Year: 2012
- Serie A Player of the Year: 2012
- European competitions include the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League
- Other tournaments include the Supercoppa Italiana, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup and FIFA Club World Cup
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Andrea Pirlo|
- Media related to Andrea Pirlo at Wikimedia Commons
- Adam Digby, Andrea Pirlo still as good as ever, Sports Illustrated.com, 3 May 2012.
- Andrea Pirlo at FootballTop.com