Andrea Pirlo. One of the best Milan players ever. A true hall of famer who has won pretty much everything there is to win within the higher echelons of world football, that is above doubt and beyond discussion and not the subject matter for today's piece. What I wish to try and address is the creeping history revisionism that seems to be repeated often enough that it warrants a firm reply.
The thing is, we all want to remember our heroes as perfect, without stain or any sign of flaw. Its why I understand the near animal instinct displayed by fan-boys (from here on referred to as Pirlophiles) to defend their hero whenever they feel he is being slighted or his legacy besmirched with a near vicious defence of the one they call Il Metroniomo but you know what? They say you should never meet your heroes! So I thought I would look up his book and would attempt to wash away some the revisionist BS that gets mindlessly regurgitated by relying solely on the words of the man himself to see if I could get to the bottom of the hows and whys that lead to his departure.
For Pirlophiles, Pirlo is a martyr, a victim if you will of
Maleficent Evil-Allegri who wanted him gone, pushing him out maybe due to some level of jealousy of Pirlo's fine mane of hair? During all the back and forths between Pirlophiles and those merely pointing out the truth you will hear that Pirlo was pushed aside, deemed surplus, got rid of..........insulted even! The gist of a Pirlophiles argument appears to be that we foolishly let go a "star" player still in his prime as witnessed at his two seasons at Juve & (allegedly) with the Azzurri. An elegant & skill-full player who was stupidly replaced with the blunt hammer that is Muntari. So lets see what the "thinking man's" footballer has to say:
During the discussions with Fester he was informed of the following:
"Andrea, our coach Massimiliano Allegri reckons that if you stay, you won't be able to play in front of the defence. He's got a different role in mind for you. Still in midfield, but on the left."
Wait! Allegri reckoned he could still play Pirlo in the midfield? A different role even huh? Ok, fine. So how does that sound Andrea?
One small detail: I still thought I could give of my best playing in front of the defence. If the sea's deep, a fish can breathe. If you put him just under the surface, he'll get by, but it's not quite the same thing.
Aaaah right! You didnt want to play on the left! I get where you are coming from now! Gotcha!
"Even with you sitting on the bench or in the stand we've won the league. And you know, Andrea, the strategy's changed this year. If you're over 30, we're only offering a year's extension."
This was applied to EVERY player over 30! But have to admit we have been inconsistent in applying it in following seasons.
Another small detail: I've never felt old, not even at that very moment. Only indirectly did I get the impression that people were trying to make out I was finished. Even now, I struggle to get my head round their reasoning."Thanks, but I really can't accept. There's a three-year deal on the table at Juventus."
What? You mean the club succeeding without you made you feel self conscious?
It was a polite ‘no' for Milan, without money even entering the conversation that spring afternoon in 2011. Not once in those 30minutes was it ever mentioned. I wanted to be thought of as important, a key player in the club's plans, not someone about to be thrown on the scrapheap.
Wait, asking to be played on the left equates to being thrown on the scrap heap? Drama queen!
I got on well with everyone and had a normal kind of relationship with Allegri - there was just something in the air. I recognised the walls that over the years had sheltered and protected me, but now I was starting to see cracks. I could sense some kind of draught that was out to make me sick.
What? The fact that the club was about to win its first scudetto in ages, largely without you??
One of the things I've long maintained is that Pirlo should have gone sooner, the main reason being that he had quite clearly given up. I cant even remember in his last 2 seasons at Milan when he last scored a world class free kick and sitting in front of the back four he had become a complete liability. In certain games he was nothing more than an open door into our penalty box for the opposition. I can still recall one of the Milan derbies during the Mourinho era where Maicon was set loose on Pirlo, I remember squinting at the TV in pain at the pitiful, half assed performance, wishing that he would be subbed off. Again Pirlophiles wont entertain that there was ever a drop off in performance from him, there are a few that are willing to acknowledge this but will instead insist on blaming the rest of the squad for ....and let me get this right.....not moving enough for him!
So is it all in my imagination? Was Pirlo bored? Had he given up at Milan? Maybe he had been there too long?? Lets check with the man himself:
That inner urge to go somewhere else, to breathe a different air, became ever more pressing and intense. The poetry that had always surrounded me was now becoming routine. It wasn't something I could ignore. Even the fans maybe wanted a bit of relief. For so many years they'd applauded me at San Siro of a Sunday (and a Saturday, a Tuesday, a Wednesday...), but now perhaps they wanted to stick new faces in their Panini album, hear new stories being told. They'd got used to the things I did, my movements, my creations. They weren't awestruck any more. In their eyes, the extraordinary was in real danger of becoming normal.
Maybe im just reading this wrong? Or maybe he's talking about a one off thing, you know like when you have a bad day in the office??
It was, it seemed, the end of an era and I felt in need of something new. Alarm bells had been ringing ever since the middle of what turned out to be my last season at the club, one ruined by a couple of injuries. I arrived at Milanello for training and realised that I didn't want to go into the dressing room. Didn't want to get changed, didn't want to work.
I phoned my agent every day, especially in the period when I was supposed to be recovering from injury, but the desire to really throw myself into it just wasn't there. Or at least it wasn't the same as it had been at one time. Massimo Ambrosini and then Mark vanBommel were playing in front of the defence.
Nope! That sounds like someone half assed and not willing to give his all to me! Stll no mention of Muntari. Here Pirlo is talking about his final meeting with Fester, you know, the one where he received a pen.
We said our goodbyes without regret. In the space of half an hour (probably not even that), I was out of there. When you're in love, it's time you need. When the feeling's gone, having an excuse can help.
Clearly stating here that he was out of love with Milan, almost happy to be leaving Milan, I cant begrudge him that. It sounds like this was the perfect excuse he needed to jump ship. Fair enough.
For someone who I did genuinely hold in high regard for what he achieved at Milan I was kinda surprised to read that he came close to leaving Milan twice and it even appears that he had at one point decided to join Capello at Madrid but was ordered to stay at Milan by his own agent...
And then my agent phoned me.
"Sign for Milan. Right now, they'll not let you leave."
So our "legend" had actually made up his mind on joining Madrid, that in itself didn't piss me off as much as the the idea that while Milan where awaiting the outcome of Calciopoli in 06-07 our man Pirlo was thinking of jumping ship, thanks Champ!
One day you'd read that we were going to be relegated to Serie B, the next that we were looking at a 15-point penalty. The next again day they'd be talking about us handing back trophies and having our titles removed from the record books.
One thing I was sure of, though: I would never drop down to Serie B. And if I had to leave, I wouldn't feel like a traitor. You always want to be ambitious and play for a noble cause. There was no way I was going to pay for other people's sins, if that's what they turned out to be.
Sorry, but you sound like a traitorous S.O.B to me! So while the rest of us where worrying about our club.....
I, meanwhile, was floating between Milan and Real Madrid.
I pictured myself in that white jersey. Pristine, and at the same time aggressive; a mean streak running through its unusual purity. My thoughts often wandered to the Santiago Bernabeu, the temple, a ground that struck terror into opponents.
WOW! At this point you actually have to remind yourself that this guy was still playing for Milan at the time! Is it any wonder that he looked so half-assed when you now know he might have been running around the San Siro dreaming of playing for Real Madrid?
It's a pity it went the way it did. I'd have signed for Real in a heartbeat. They're a club with more glamour than Milan; more prospects, more appeal, more everything. They strike fear in their opponents, whoever they happen to be. All that said, I had the consolation of winning the Champions League at the end of the season. It could have gone a lot worse.
Club legend huh? Ah well not joining the team of your dreams is consoled by winning another Champions League, he sounds hard done by!
The second time he pondered leaving is even better, the following is after he was pitched by Pep Guardiola.
As with Real Madrid (in fact, even more so than with Real Madrid), I'd have crawled to Barcelona on all fours. At that time, they were the best team in the world - what more needs to be said?
Pfft. Now you're beginning to sound like another bandwagoner I know! (God I wish Fester would take his pen back!)
I get that a player, any player is free to choose where he works and far be it for me to demand how a guy earns his money and supports his family but I still feel that Pirlo wrongly felt he was owed more by the club that helped make him who he is today.
When you take into account the fact that he clearly wasn't happy at Milan I feel it was only right that he move on, for me I just wish it had been a season or two sooner, I also wish Pirlophiles would stop re-writing history.....but we can only dream. I know it hurts but for all the guys who still insist on kissing his ass I wish you would wake up to the guy he really is. I for one wish he had pissed off to RM or Barca when he had the chance! You kinda wonder about a guy who wanted to jump ship a number of times then had to be such a di#k about only getting a one year extension!
For the most rabid of Pirlophiles, there will be no doubt be alot of fingers being jammed in ears and eyes covered up as they try and keep out the truth but for Milanista, we should at the minimum be indifferent to a guy we once held in high regard. As for me, I'm done with Pirlo. We got as much out of him as he got out of us, there was absolutely no heartbreak involved as he clearly points out in his book. The one notion that completely by-passes Pirlophiles is that if was he was half the legend he is held to be he would have been open to playing in Serie B, the notion of him jumping ship makes him more Cannavaro (ship jumping p#ssy) than Del Piero (club legend). So now that Allegri has joined Juve I take extreme satisfaction in the knowledge that right about now the floppy haired moron is sweating about whether he can swallow playing on the left of the midfield or whether he suddenly needs "new air to breathe". :D
PS: I have a signed Pirlo shirt. If a Pirlophile wants to make me an offer get in touch at Pirlocankissmyass@gmail.com