‘Il Maestro’ Andrea Pirlo opened up about his time playing for the three biggest clubs in Italy in a sit-down interview with Marca Plus which included his decision to sign with the MLS, sharing the field with Baggio and one of his major career regrets.
It may be hard to believe that arguably one of the modern game’s greatest regista, Andrea Pirlo, harbors certain regrets about his playing career. Although his trophy cabinet is flooded with domestic and European trophies while dawning the jerseys of two of Italy’s biggest clubs, Milan and Juve, along with having hoisted a World Cup, the bearded wonder did have one wish he would have loved to have fulfilled. In a interview with Spanish media outlet Marca Plus (via CdS), Pirlo revealed that he had an opportunity to join one of the world’s most renowned football clubs but his contract commitments did not permit him to leave:
In 2010, I could have became a Real Madrid player. There was Capello as manager and many players contacted me to try and convince me to go there. But I was under contract at Milan and there was nothing that could have been done to leave. They were 10 years at Milan in which I won everything that could be won and I am happy to have played for three of Italy’s biggest clubs. I am disappointed to not have played for great club like Real Madrid. I would have really loved to have played for Barcelona also.
Following his departure from Juventus after a string of Scudetti and heartbreaking Champions League Final loss, Pirlo wanted to take on a new challenge as the door to join the MLS had opened up for him. He told Marca about his reasoning for leaving the grand stage of European Football for the United States:
After a 20 year career at the highest level, I felt the necessity to scale back the rhythm and continue to play without the stress I felt when I played in Italy. I chose NYCFC to dedicate more time to other important things in my life, such as my wife and kids, even if the only thing I know how to do in life is to play football.
Even though Pirlo still holds those regrets and as now slowed things down while playing in North America, he still was able to realize his dream of playing for Inter at a young age:
It was the club of my heart despite that when I arrived, they had changed many players and managers. At the beginning, I was young and I had just turned 18 years old. To go from my home to the field was very complicated. Unfortunately, I did not show continuity in my performance and they let me go.
His dream of having a long-lasting career at Inter may have been cut short but a trophy-laden career would be on the horizon as he was signed by Silvio Berlusconi’s Milan:
I will forever be thankful to Carlo Ancelotti. It is thanks to him that I became the champion that I am today. Carlo is a fantastic person and a great manager. It was a true pleasure to work with him. At Milan, we won two Champion League trophies but it could have been three had it not been for that horrible night in Istanbul against Liverpool. Nobody knows how to explain that comeback. Still to this day, the regret for that night remains enormous.
Once his days at Milan were up, he would find himself at Juventus after signing with the Turin club via a free transfer. It was a move that would lead more years of continuous success for the deep-lying playmaker:
Juventus had needed to rebuild its ‘look’ to return to glory after the Calciopoli years and for me, it was an exciting adventure because we both had the same objective: to win.
Pirlo then revisited his time sharing the field with one of calcio’s most legendary players, Roberto Baggio, during his stint at Brescia:
Baggio has always been my idol. Having him on my side at Brescia was a unique emotion and amazing experience. I could not have asked for better to help me grow.