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Francesco Pizzolla On May - 20 - 2011

Milan Say Arrivederci To Andrea Pirlo

The news had been swirling around for quite some time that Andrea Pirlo and Milan would part ways at the end of this season, and while many fans hoped he would come to an agreement with the Rossoneri, it was finally made official this week that Pirlo would be leaving. After 10 years and over 400 appearances with the club, Andrea Pirlo decided it was time for a new experience. I think it’s safe to say that Milan fans everywhere are saddened by Pirlo’s exit. Pirlo came into Milanello as skinny little fantasista who was the leader of the Italy U-21 side and came out of Milanello as one of the best midfielders Italy has ever produced and that the world has seen.

I was once told that you could only truly appreciate Pirlo as a player by watching him live. That statement was definitely true, because when I finally did get to watch him live he blew me away. Andrea Pirlo is the true definition of the regista (Italian for director, deep lying playmaker) position.  He defined it for the past 10 years. He had been so associated to the regista position that when other teams were looking to buy a regista they would tell the media they were looking for a “player ala Pirlo”. As a youngster Pirlo was a pure trequartista and was placed behind the strikers. But while Pirlo had sublime technical ability, he was never the fastest of players and he really failed to reach that next level as a trequartista. Pirlo’s career took that decisive turn when he was loaned to Brescia in 2001. Brescia, also the place of Pirlo’s birth, had experienced manager Carlo Mazzone at the helm and up front had a certain someone named Roberto Baggio. Noticing that Pirlo had incredible technique but at the same time couldn’t start over Roberto Baggio as a trequartista, he improvised and moved Pirlo right in front of the defense, allowing the two creative minds to be on the pitch at the same time. From there we know how the story goes.

In the summer of 2001, not fitting into Inter’s plans, crosstown rivals Milan saw talent in the young midfielder and paid a pretty hefty price to bring him to Milanello. Pirlo encountered the same problem once at Milan, an experienced trequartista was ahead of him in the pecking order, and this time it was Manuel Rui Costa. Ancelotti, like Mazzone, noticed that Pirlo had sublime skill and moved him back to his regista position that he flourished in for six months at Brescia. The rest is history. Pirlo went on to be untouchable in Milan’s midfield and went on to win two Champions League trophies and two Scudetti above all others. Milan weren’t the only team to profit from Pirlo’s new role, as Andrea quickly became a fundamental part of the Azzurri after being arguably the best player the Italy U-21 side has ever seen. Pirlo was an instrumental part of Italy’s World Cup victory and without him in top form who knows if the Azzurri still would have taken the trophy.

Pirlo is one of the most unique players the world has ever seen. It’s tough to think that I as a Milan fan will never be able to see him put an inch-perfect 40 yard pass on a striker’s foot or score a free-kick that has such ballistic effect that it makes the goalkeeper look silly. Pirlo left the Milan offices on Wednesday with tears in his eyes and said “I hope Milan miss me in the future.” And when seeing Pirlo flourishing for a new club next season, I’m sure most Milan fans definitely will.

  • Ted

    Bye Pirlo.
    All the best!

  • PirloFan

    Pirlo, You are a class act and will shine where ever you go. Milan fans all over are sad you are leaving. I really hope Allegri, uncle fester and silvio know what the hell they are doing. The darn thing is now I have to watch Juve games… Chin up and make ppl miss you.

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