For a man who once claimed that “after the wheel, the PlayStation is the best invention of all time”, Andrea Pirlo did not seem destined to become a manager upon his retirement.
But the Italian maestro was given the reins at Juventus in August 2020, replacing Maurizio Sarri after only nine days in charge of the Juventus youth team.
Here, we’ve collected six quotes that give us a flavour of the expectancy and philosophy surrounding Pirlo’s appointment.
The Dynamo Kiev manager gave Pirlo his first taste of professional football at Brescia back in the 1990s and has been complimentary about the Italian’s appointment at Juve.
“I knew Pirlo would become a coach and the same is true of [Diego] Simeone who I coached at Pisa,” told Tuttosport.
“I am not surprised Pirlo begins his coaching career at Juventus. It’s not a risky choice for him, the club chose him and will support him. I am very happy for him.”
Since being appointed as Juventus’ head coach, Pirlo has been compared to the likes of Pep Guardiola and Zizou Zidane.
Asked if his former player can emulate the managerial greats, Lucescu added: “He can be like [Guardiola and Zidane]. Andrea was a champion footballer and can become a big manager.”
Paratici, chief football officer at Juventus, has been keen to implement a holistic style of play at the club. His words about Pirlo give an indication as to how the rookie manager got the job.
“The decision for Pirlo was very natural, in the Juventus style, because he is someone who as we said just over a week ago played with us, has always been in contact with everyone here and it felt natural,” Paratici said.
“We also believe he is destined for greatness. He was as a player and we think with confidence he can do the same as a coach.
“Andrea has in his mind the same approach to coaching as he does when he played. That’s football of great quality and hard work. He wants to propose a certain type of football, the kind European teams are generally trying to follow, and he was very convincing in his explanation to us.”
The man himself has spoken about the style of football he wishes to pursue in management.
When asked about his favourite formation by former international team-mate Fabio Cannavaro on an Instagram Live chat, Pirlo replied: “It depends on the players, but I like a 4-3-3 and attacking play, with everyone forward and lots of ball possession.”
Pirlo has quickly made an impression on the current Juventus players in the squad.
After a few days training, defender Danilo told reporters: “He trained with us, he communicates very well with the team and with every player of the club.”
Various sources stated relations between previous manager Sarri and senior players became strained last season. In this case, Pirlo has already started to rectify the damage.
Another of Italy’s 2006 World Cup winners, Inzaghi has spoken about the advantages that Pirlo’s stellar playing career will bring into his new managerial role.
“I know Andrea well, he is a very intelligent man,” Inzaghi said on the Tiki Taka TV show in Italy. “When you stop playing and start coaching everything changes a lot, but being 20 years in the locker room with great coaches is something that we carry in and that gives some advantages.
“Starting like this is not easy, but having such a strong club and such good players can only be advantageous because if something is wrong the players will be able to make up for it.
“I’m happy for Andrea and I’m sure he’ll make a brilliant career.”
Louis van Gaal
The famously contrarian Dutch manager has had his say on Pirlo’s appointment, casting doubt about his suitability for the role.
Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Van Gaal stated: “In Holland they say, ‘If you are a good horse, you are not a good jockey.’ I doubt his qualities as a coach because he has never coached and has learned everything he knows as a footballer.
“Andrea Pirlo was the best in his role as a player, but I don’t know what his coaching career will be like. There are few good players who have become excellent technicians also because unfortunately in Latin culture, the common spirit often fades into the background and is not considered.”