|Full Name: Andrea Pirlo
Date Of Birth: May 19, 1979
Place of Birth: Flero, Lombardy, Italy
Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Current Club: Juventus
National Debut: 2002
Caps: 82 (9)
He is usually deployed as a deep-lying playmaker for both Juventus and Italy and is regarded as the world's best player in this position. Praised for his inventive play and his long passing ability, he is also a set-piece specialist.
Pirlo has played for the Italian youth teams U-15, U-18 and U-21, captaining and leading the latter to victory in the 2000 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. 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).
With Milan, he has won two UEFA Champions League (2003 and 2007), two European Super Cups (2003 and 2007), two Scudetto (2004 and 2011), an Italian Super Cup (2004), a FIFA Club World Cup (2007), and the Italian Cup in 2003.
He came in third and second in IFFHS World Playmaker of the Year awards in 2006 and 2007, respectively. 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 Azzurri (Italian national team).
Pirlo was born in Flero, Lombardy, Italy. His brother Ivan plays for a Serie C2 club in Brescia. 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 Internazionale finished eighth in the 1998–99 Serie A campaign. Pirlo was shipped off on loan to the club he made his debut against in 1995, Reggina. After an impressive season, he returned to Internazionale but was once again unable to break into the first squad, making just four league appearances and spent the second half of the season on loan at former club, Brescia.
After three seasons on the Internazionale books, Pirlo was sold to fierce rivals Milan for 35 billion Italian lire (about €18 million). That transfer windows the two clubs has also swapped Cristian Brocchi for Guly; Paolo Ginestra for Matteo Bogani. The deals later reported by press were also aimed to create "false profit" by inflating the transfer fees in the swap deal, which Ginestra and Bogani both created €3.5 million "profit" for both clubs but in terms of registration rights.
It was at Milan where he found his true strides developing into a world class player. With Milan, he won two Scudetto and two Champions League titles. He also won an Italian Cup and two UEFA Super Cups with Milan in 2003 and 2007. His most forgettable incident, however, was 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. Carlo Ancelotti further-developed this role at Milan. Since then, he has formed a formidable partnership with Gennaro Gattuso 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 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year Award but it 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.
On 2 October 2010, Pirlo scored a 40-yard goal against Parma to give Milan their first away win of the 2010–11 season. On 18 May 2011, 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 2011, Juventus announced the signing of 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. 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.
"Pirlo is a silent leader. He speaks with his feet." Marcello Lippi...
Pirlo captained Italy to an Under-21 European Championship in 2000 and semi-finalists in 2002. Pirlo played for Italy at the 2000 Summer Olympics, won the bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics.
Pirlo was a member of the Italian Squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. 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 the 2–0 victory. He was named the 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 their 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. 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.
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.
Andrea Pirlo and his wife Deborah Roversi married in 2001 and have two children: son Niccolò (born 2003) and daughter Angela (born 2006).
Serie A: 2003-04, 2010-11
Coppa Italia: 2002-03
UEFA Champions League: 2002-03, 2006-07
European Supercup: 2003, 2007
Super Coppa di Lega: 2004
FIFA Club World Cup: 2007
UEFA Under-21 European Championship: 2000
2004 Summer Olympics – Bronze medal
FIFA World Cup: 2006
UEFA European Under-21 Championship Golden Player: 2000
UEFA European Under-21 Championship Top Scorer: 2000
2006 FIFA World Cup Team of the Tournament
FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball Award: 2006
2006 FIFA World Cup Final Man of the Match
FIFPro World XI: 2006