Ask us to define class, we would just say Andrea Pirlo. Four-time world champions Italy have produced some of the best footballers over the years, but one player trumps all of them, the little maestro Andrea Pirlo.
The 38-year-old midfield ace announced that he will be hanging his boots from the sport when his contract is due to end with New York City FC this December. In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport , the 38-year-old revealed, "You realise yourself that the time has come. Each day, you have physical problems and you can't train as you would like to because there's always some niggle. At my age, it's fine to say enough is enough. You don't have to carry on until you are 50. I'll do something else."Pirlo made his Serie A debut age 16 for his hometown club Brescia, dazzling the field, mesmerizing fans across the globe. A recognizable figure anywhere across the field with his flowing locks and trademark beard, Pirlo is a footballer adored by almost everyone across the globe. But what makes him so great apart from the 19 trophies including the World Cup he won for Italy?
Not many of us will know that a player of Pirlo’s stature was a reject and just like any great player he proved his doubters wrong, not once but twice. Pirlo is slow, he is not physically strong, he can hardly head a ball, let alone tackle or sprint, but its his technical and mental viewpoint that makes him untouchable. L'architetto was signed up by Inter Milan aged 19 after impressing with his hometown club Brescia as a number 10. Despite Pirlo’s brilliance, he was not given a chance and was loaned out, where he moved into a deeper role and let his vision run riot. An impressed AC Milan snapped him up from their city rivals. Pirlo flourished in midfield and helped AC Milan to Serie A titles and Two Champions league titles. However at 32, he was unwanted again. AC Milan believed the old horse had nothing more to offer and was allowed to leave on a free transfer ending their 10-year love affair. One man's loss is another man's gain. Juventus signed him and Anotnio Conte immediately changed his formation to inculcate Pirlo. The results were immediate, Pirlo was named Serie A Player of the year for two consecutive seasons and Juventus won 4 consecutive Serie A titles.At 37 Pirlo left Serie A to play for New York City FC but he soon realized his influence was receding and the time has come. Unlike most footballers, he didn't have the perfect physique but he had the perfect mind. Pirlo was unique and probably is the last of his kind. Football will truly miss one of its finest geniuses.