“The journey of Pirlo would not be without tough challenges and there would always be a risk of ending up with eggs on the face. But with Pirlo, one can have faith because the man is a warrior and the master of steering the ship through choppy waters”

 

“I did not expect Juventus to go out [of the Champions League]. I was sure they would have advanced. But it was a terrible, unpredictable and difficult year. Especially for those who have made changes, like Juve. Sarri wasn’t able to bring through his football”

That is what Roberto Mancini said after the shock at Turin against the French visitors Olympique Lyon.

Maurizio Sarri did win the Scudetto with Juventus, but his side was far from convincing at the Italian Serie A and an average outcome was expected in the Champions League if not the disaster against Lyon. Frankly speaking, Inter, AC Milan and Atalanta looked much better than Juve after the COVID-19 break.

Producing satisfactory results in the Champions League had been the only option for Sarri to save his job, but in the end, the outcome was evident.

Sarri was shown the door and Juve knocked on the door of their beloved son, who is a legend in Turin – the genius Andrea Pirlo has been given the task to fix Juventus.

Pirlo has no such big experience in coaching, but still why Juventus invested faith in him, surprised many, but not Mancini, who said, “[Pirlo] is lucky. He starts from the top and with the best team. Maybe I didn’t start from the bottom, but I started at Fiorentina, not with Juve.”

“Jokes aside, if I was searching, I would have been looking at Andrea. He has great knowledge of football. Like [Daniele] De Rossi. I would have liked to work with him.”

“There’s always a first time. Andrea opens up a new path. Let’s follow him. Good luck to him.”

Even though Pirlo himself never backed himself about becoming a coach or manager. In his autobiography, he said, “I wouldn’t bet a single cent on me becoming a manager though. It’s not a job I’m attracted to. There are too many worries.”

Managing Juve’s under-23 coach is something else while managing Cristiano Ronaldo and a side obsessed with European success is another.

Still, with Pirlo, one can expect the positives and those who played alongside him can realize when the matter is about absorbing pressure and leading the side silently, none could hardly match the cool customer in his playing days.

“I don’t feel pressure … I don’t give a toss about it. I spent the afternoon of Sunday, 9 July 2006 in Berlin sleeping and playing the PlayStation. In the evening, I went out and won the World Cup.”

Pirlo, on his mental state in Italy’s World Cup victory over France in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, in Berlin.

The man is not only blessed with leadership qualities but most importantly, he is someone who can be regarded as a footballing intellect.

Juve Chairman Andrea Agnelli wished to gamble – He felt Antonio Conte was a gamble that worked, while Max Allegri was the hated Milan coach and yet his arrival bought even more joy.

So maybe Pirlo could bring back the Juve soul, which made Juve a team to watch.

BBC reported, “Juventus have made it clear they want to continue promoting the Juventus brand to bring in steady revenue and they want sporting brilliance that won’t require a revolution. The bearded hipster, who played football like a god, satisfies both requirements.”

“Everyone will tune into to watch the masterful Ronaldo under the guidance of the cool Pirlo, spending their hard-earned cash on the merchandise this will surely produce and perhaps Pirlo’s suggested pragmatism will finally get this collection of individuals to play as a team.”

So, how would Pirlo’s Juve look like?

No wonder he would emphasize on the midfield and possession-oriented football.

The tempo will be dictated by the player who plays in the centre of midfield, where he himself used to line up, and Jorginho might arrive in the transfer window to occupy this role.

Arthur Melo has already agreed to join too and Pirlo will be thrilled about the chance to work with the Brazilian who is full of potential.

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In defence, Matthijs de Ligt could benefit from a new style of play if he is asked to bring the ball out from the back. But he is someone, who would not sacrifice defence at the cost of attacking football like Gian Piero Gasperini.

“In military terms,”  Pirlo explained in his autobiography, “success starts in the zone behind the lines. Put more simply, the team that concedes the fewest goals wins the match.”

Then, in the attack, Paulo Dybala should occupy the playmaking role behind a free Cristiano Ronaldo and one other more positional striker.

The journey of Pirlo would not be without tough challenges and there would always be a risk of ending up with eggs on the face. But with Pirlo, one can have faith because the man is a warrior and the master of steering the ship through choppy waters.

The appointment of Pirlo as Juve manager is risky but smart gambling.

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