Happy Birthday to Andrea Pirlo!

Happy Birthday to Andrea Pirlo!

Andrea Pirlo was born on 19th May 1979 in Flero, near Brescia.

From a young age, he was considered one of the biggest talents in Italian football. In 1995, at the age of 16, he made his Serie A debut for Brescia. He then moved to Inter after four seasons.

Inter sent Pirlo out on-loan to Reggina and Brescia before selling him to AC Milan in the summer of 2001. Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti gave him a new position on the field: Pirlo was deployed as a deep-lying playmaker in front of the defence. During his spell with the Rossoneri, Pirlo won both the Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup twice, was crowned Serie A champion on two occasions and triumphed once in the FIFA Club World Cup, the Italian Cup and the Italian Super Cup.

Juventus signed him in May 2011. He became a key player in the squad and recorded four more Serie A titles and secured victories in two further Italian Super Cup competitions. He then joined MLS club New York F.C in the summer of 2015.

He captained Italy to victory in the Under-21 European Championship in 2000 and helped the Azzurri win the bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. He made his senior international debut against Azerbaijan on 7th September 2002.

Pirlo appeared in all of Italy’s matches at the 2006 World Cup and was instrumental in helping his side win the entire tournament. He was named ‘FIFA man of the match’ on three occasions during the competition. In Italy’s first game at the competition, he scored the opening goal against Ghana and provided the assist for Vincenzo Iaquinta to seal a 2-0 victory. In the semi-final against Germany, he set up Grosso’s opening goal. In the final against France, he crossed for Materzzi to equalise and then scored in the penalty shoot-out, helping Italy to win the title. He was voted the third-best player of the tournament after compatriot Fabio Cannavaro and Zinedine Zidane. He was also included in the 2006 FIFPro XI.

He was unable to play the first two games at the 2010 World Cup due to injury but came off the bench late in the match against Slovakia. He captained the team for the first time in the 2012 European Championship qualifier against Estonia on 3rd September 2010.  At Euro 2012, he helped Italy reach the final and was one of the best players at the tournament.

He took part in the 2013 Confederation Cup and won his 100th cap in Italy’s opening game. He was called up by Prandelli for the 2014 World Cup and was also selected by new Italy manager Conte for the 2016 Euro qualifying match against Azerbaijan on 10th October 2014. Pirlo is the fourth-most capped player in the history of the Italian national team with 113 caps to his name.

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