Ricorrenze Azzurre

The Maestro Andrea Pirlo turns 40

A World Cup winner in 2006, he was one of the greatest midfielders in the 2000s as he won multiple trophies

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Maestro Andrea Pirlo turns 40

Andrea Pirlo was born on 19 May 1979 in Flero in the province of Brescia.

Considered from a young age to be one of the most talented players in Italian football, he made his Serie A debut at the age of just 16 for Brescia as an attacking midfielder before moving to Inter four seasons later. He was loaned to Reggina and Brescia before Inter sold him to AC Milan in the summer of 2001. Carlo Ancelotti moved him into a new role as a deep-lying playmaker and he’d stay there for the remainer of his career. With Milan, he won practically everything. He won the Champions League twice, Club World Cup once, European Supercup twice, Serie A twice, the Coppa Italia once and Supercoppa Italiana twice.

In May 2011, after ten years with the Diavolo he moved to Juventus and became a key player immediately. He added to his already-impressive honours list, winning the Scudetto three times under Antonio Conte in addition to two more Supercoppa Italiana titles. Under Massimiliano Allegri, he was in the side that won the 2014-15 Serie A title and a Coppa Italia. In the summer of 2015, he moved to MLS to play for New York City F.C.

He won the Under-21 European Championship in 2000 with Italy and a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics. Andrea Pirlo’s first senior Italy cap was on 7 September 2002 when the Azzurri side led by Trapattoni faced Azerbaijan.

Although he took part in the 2004 European Championship, the midfielder from Flero really made his name at the 2006 World Cup where he played a starring role as the Azzurri lifted the trophy. In Germany, Pirlo was named FIFA Man of the Match on three occasions. First of all, was against Ghana where he scored and assisted a goal in the 2-0 win. Then in the semi-final against the home side, he played the key pass for Grosso’s goal. In the final against France, he delivered the corner for Materazzi to head home and equalise from. His displays saw him finish third in the FIFA competition to name the player of the tournament behind Zinedine Zidane and Fabio Cannavaro. In 2006, Pirlo was named by FIFPRo in the FIFA Team of the Year.

After the unfortunate trip to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup where a thigh injury meant he only played in the end of the final group match, on 3 September 2010, Pirlo captained Italy for the first time against Estonia in a EURO 2012 qualifier. During the competition in Poland and Ukraine, he helped lead the team to the final against Spain as he was one of the best players at the tournament.

Pirlo also featured at the 2013 Confederations Cup where he made his 100th appearance for Italy. In the summer of 2014, he played at his third World Cup where, unfortunately, Prandelli’s side failed to make it out of the group. After Antonio Conte took the job, he returned to playing for the Azzurri on 10 October 2014 in a EURO 2016 qualifier against Azerbaijan. In that, he made his 113th Italy appearance to become the fourth most-capped player in history. His glorious career finally came to an end with Pirlo retiring from international football after making 116 appearances and scoring 13 goals.