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The Afterlife: Pirlo’s Heir



Let’s assume that this is it for Pirlo at Juventus. July 1st, while in Brazil for Italy in the World Cup, his contract expires and his tenure in Torino is over. What happens next for the Old Lady? Does Conte scrap the integral role of his illustrious project? What’s left?

Andrea Pirlo resurrected his career because of the oasis Conte provided him. The tactics, training, every aspect that a footballer goes through on and off the pitch. Antonio Conte has without a doubt extended the life and legacy of Andrea. However, his supposed successor Paul Pogba (who’s last name “P” fits perfectly with the M-V-P formula) does not seem Pirlo-esque. He’s more of a power midfielder, like a De Rossi. Marchisio playing in the regista role? Most Juventini would have a heart attack. Vidal would not into the regista role because he has transformed into more of a trequartista. It would appear that there is nobody already at Juventus who could take the role of Andrea Pirlo.

The Primavera seems barren of this task. Schiavone nor Beltrame have the cultured passing ability or vision. Manuel Giandonato bit the dust last summer, and Elio De Silvestro never managed to take off. There are only two deep-lying midfielders in Andrea Zacchetta’s arsenal to choose from. Matteo Gerbaudo or Simone Emmanuello seem to have some characteristics, but will most likely not be given the opportunity to learn from the Maestro. There is another outsider who could make a splash and that would be Vajebah Sakor. He’s a powerful, stout and ruthless midfielder who could offer something different, but there is no guarantees that he could develop into a passer.

But this is not a crisis whatsoever, this is merely a slight headache for Juventus. There are always prospects from other leagues that show off glimmers of artistry and potential. There is a young man slightly north of Torino, and I’ll give you his initials. MV.

As 99.9% you assumed, it’s Marco Verratti, and for obvious reasons. Marco IS Pirlo-esque. At 20 years old, he already experienced one full season under the same man who built Pirlo, Carlo Ancelotti. Not to mention he is a full Italian international, has Champions League experience and is a Juventino. Is there honestly a more perfect option than Verratti? Characteristically speaking no, financially, there may be a hangup, and that his agent practically held him hostage in Paris last summer for the big bucks. Marco is under contract until the summer of 2018, and there is no buyout clause. Meaning that PSG do not have to sell for any specific number, which could further complicate a move.

If Marco Verratti is the holy grail of replacements, is he worth it? Given the situation with his development, it would appear that his market value can only increase. It is currently somewhere in the €15 million range. Would you spend it? Just how much of an expert is Marotta at negotiating? This would not be like Tevez or Llorente. An expiring contract would not play any role in his transfer for the foreseeable future. A large sum would be needed to acquiesce the Parisians to sell. Intriguing how football works now isn’t it?

But what happens if there is no immediate replacement for Pirlo? Conte would sign a reinforcement or two to numerically balance the midfield. But perhaps it would be back to square one for the Bianconeri. Creating another Pirlo. Another playmaker. Another legend. If the past is any indication of the future, then I’d say that 20 years from now, we’ll be looking for a replacement, for Pirlo’s replacement. Calcio just works that way, and that’s why it is the beautiful game after all.




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