Juve bet on Pirlo becoming new Zidane and Guardiola - GulfToday

Juve bet on Pirlo becoming new Zidane and Guardiola


Zinedine Zidane. File

A first coaching job and already high expectations, Andrea Pirlo’s arrival at Juventus has sparked hopes in Italy that he can follow footballing greats Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola’s managerial success.

The 41-year-old former Italy and Juventus star was promoted to the top job in Turin just a week after having being appointed coach of their U23 side.

“Andrea Pirlo is starting a path that maybe one day will lead him to the top of the first team,” club president Andrea Agnelli said on July 31.

A week later, Pirlo has already taken over from Maurizio Sarri after the reigning nine-time Italian champions crashed out of the Champions League in the last 16.

“A team is made up of dynamics, interpersonal relationships, expressions,” said Agnelli on Pirlo’s arrival at the club.

And Pirlo speaks the language of players, with four league titles won at Juventus between 2011 and 2015, before ending his playing career in November 2017 after three seasons in MLS.

“Even during the years away from the club, I kept the relationships,” said Brescia-native Pirlo.

“It was normal for me to live in Turin and it feels normal to return to work here.

“I prefer to be invested with a great responsibility, it makes me feel alive,” he explained, adding his ambition was “to repeat the career I achieved as a player”.

Contemporaries Zidane and Guardiola both achieved that feat with with Real Madrid and Barcelona.

But Zidane — who famously lost the 2006 World Cup final to Pirlo’s Italy — spent two years with Real Madrid’s B team, and Guardiola the second-tier Barcelona side, before stepping up and winning the Champions League with the first teams.

“Guardiola and Zidane? Everyone would like to have their same journey,” said Pirlo, “but you need to earn it by gaining experience.”

Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso believes that it will be a steep climb for his former Italy and AC Milan team-mate.

“Blessed is he who started immediately at Juventus, I say so because this is a difficult job, it is not enough to have a great career as a footballer behind him,” said Gattuso after Napoli were eliminated from the Champions League against Barcelona.

Agence France-Presse

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