Pirlo playing for Juventus in 2012
|Full name||Andrea Pirlo|
|Date of birth||19 May 1979|
|Place of birth||Flero, 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 10 November 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Andrea Pirlo, Ufficiale OMRI (born 19 May 1979), is an Italian footballer who plays for Serie A club Juventus and the Italian national team. He is usually deployed as a deep-lying playmaker or regista (a playmaker operating in a position similar to that of a defensive midfielder) for both Juventus and Italy and is regarded as a leading exponent of this position. Although not gifted with pace, physicality or notable defensive or tackling abilities, Pirlo has been praised for his touch, technique, control, dribbling, incredible vision, inventive play and his accurate passing ability. He is also a set-piece and penalty-kick specialist, who 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 and 2013, he added 2 more Serie A titles and 2 Italian Super Cups 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.
- 1 Early years
- 2 Club career
- 3 International career
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Career statistics
- 6 Honours
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
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.
It was at Milan where he made big strides in 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 titles and was an integral part of the Rossoneri's midfield; they went on to win the Champions League in both 2003 and 2007 (assisting Inzaghi's first goal) under coach Carlo Ancelotti, and also reached the final in 2005. During this period, Milan also finished as runner's up in Serie A in the 2004-05 season and the 2005-06 season (before their 30 point deduction due to their involvement in the 2006 Calciopoli scandal), as well as finishing second on penalties in the 2003 Supercoppa Italiana, in which Pirlo scored on a penalty in extra time and in the shootout. In the 2004-05 Champions League tournament, Pirlo finished as one of the second highest assist providers with 4 assists. He also won an Italian Cup, a Supercoppa Italiana and two UEFA Super Cups during his time with Milan between 2003 and 2007 (assisting Milan's second goal in the 2007 final), as well as their first FIFA World Club Cup title in 2007, once again assisting Milan's second goal. 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 in their shoot-out loss to Liverpool, after Liverpool had made a three goal comeback in the second half of normal time. He had previously, however, assisted Maldini's opening goal in the 2005 Champion's League Final, after 50 seconds, from a free-kick, and combined with Kaká before the Brazilian unleashed Crespo with a long pass for Milan's third goal before halftime.
Pirlo started his career as an offensive midfielder until coach Carlo Mazzone moved him to 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 Rivaldo, Rui Costa and eventually Kaka, replacing the gap left by Milan legend Demetrio Albertini in midfield. He would form a formidable partnership with Gennaro Gattuso (as well as with Clarence Seedorf and Massimo Ambrosini, who also supported his playmaking role) in the midfield and him the nickname the metronome for the way he set the team's rhythm. He led Serie A in the 2002–03 season in four categories – passes played (2589), ball possession (123 hours played and 39 minutes), successful balls (661), and successful passes (2093); 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 metre goal in Milan's 3–2 win over Real Madrid. Milan finished the 2008-09 season tied for second place with Juventus in Serie A.
Milan played host to Genoa on 25 September 2010, with Pirlo providing 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 appeared in the league just 17 times, notching just one goal and three assists.
In 2011, Juventus signed Pirlo on a free transfer on a contract until 2014. His debut with Juventus was in 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 as a winner of 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 and the 2012 UEFA 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. Pirlo and Juventus retained their Serie A title that season. Juventus were, however, eliminated by Bayern Munich in the Quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League, and in the Semi finals of the Coppa Italia by Lazio; both of these teams were the winners of these respective competitions. Pirlo featured in Juventus's 4-0 win against Lazio in the 2013 Supercoppa Italiana, on August 18th, 2013, at the Stadio Olimpico, in Rome. Pirlo helped to create Pogba's opening goal in the twenty-third minute of play.
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 the Azzurri to win the bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics. His first major tournament with the Italian senior team was UEFA Euro 2004, where the team was eliminated at the first round.
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 and as part of the 2006 World Cup Team of the Tournament 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.
On 15 June 2009, Pirlo assisted Giuseppe Rossi's second goal in a 3–1 win in Italy's opening match of the Confederations Cup against the USA. Italy subsequently lost the following two group matches against Egypt and Brazil, and were eliminated from the competition.
Pirlo was not able to play the first two games in the 2010 World Cup for Italy due to recent injuries. 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.
Coach Prandelli named Pirlo Vice-Captain of the Italian squad, behind Captain, Gianluigi Buffon. Pirlo appeared in nine matches as Italy qualified for the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, netting one goal in Italy's 5–0 hammering of minnows Faroe Islands on 7 September 2010.
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.
2013 Confederations Cup
Pirlo was selected for Italy's squad to play in Brazil at the 2013 Confederations Cup. He won his 100th cap on 16 June in Italy's opening game against Mexico, opening the scoring with a trademark free kick as Italy downed El Tri 2–1, and Pirlo was voted man of the match. In the second group stage match against Japan, Pirlo assisted De Rossi's goal against from a corner. The match ended 4-3 to Italy. The win allowed Italy to progress to the semi-finals of the competition. Pirlo did not play in the third group stage match against hosts Brazil, as he had come down with a minor injury at the end of the second match, although he would be available to play for the semi-finals. Italy were defeated 4-2, which meant that they finished second in group A, and would be playing the winners of group B, tournament favourites Spain, in a rematch of the European Championship Final of the previous year. Italy held Spain to 0-0 draw, and the match eventually went to penalties. Pirlo netted his penalty, but Bonucci's miss allowed Spain to advance to the finals, as they won the shootout 7-6. Pirlo was injured for the third place final, although Italy managed to defeat Uruguay 3-2 on penalties, after a 2-2 draw. Pirlo was nominated for the Golden Ball award, although he failed to place amongst the top three players of the tournament, as the awards went to Neymar, Iniesta and Paulinho, respectively.
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).
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 regard 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.
- As of 31 Oct 2013
|Team||Season||League||Cup||Europe[nb 1]||Other[nb 2]||Total|
|Italy national team|
- Scores and results list Italy's goal tally first.
- Coppa Italia: 2002–03
- UEFA Champions League: 2002–03, 2006–07; Runner-up 2004–05
- UEFA Super Cup: 2003, 2007
- Serie A: 2003–04, 2010–11
- Supercoppa Italiana: 2004; Runner-up 2003
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2007
- Intercontinental Cup: Runner-up 2003
- UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship: 2000
- Olympic Bronze Medal: 2004
- FIFA World Cup: 2006
- UEFA European Football Championship Runner-up: 2012
- FIFA Confederations Cup Bronze Medal: 2013
- 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
- FIFA Confederations Cup Team of the Tournament: 2013
- 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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- "Andrea Pirlo". National Football Teams. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
|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
- ESPN Profile