Andrea Pirlo is an Italian footballer who was part of the team that won the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He plays for A. C. Milan and his position is that of a deep-lying playmaker in central midfield, but he also shown he can be effectively deployed in a more advanced role.
Born on 19 May 1979 in Flero, Lombardy, Italy, Pirlo joined the academy of the region’s top club, Brescia, aged fifteen. At the time the Little Swallows were yo-yoing between Serie B and Serie A.
After breaking into the first team, despite being unable to help his club establish themselves as a top flight team in Italy, Pirlo’s services were snapped up by Internazionale Milan in the summer of 1998. At the San Siro he could not hold down a regular place and was loaned out twice, first to Reggina where he impressed, but upon returning to Inter again stalled so he went back to Brescia. Fatih Terim, boss of Internazionale’s arch-rivals A. C. Milan, saw something in Andrea and signed him for about €18 million in the summer of 2001. Here he found himself and developed into the world-class playmaker he has become. Also at Milan, Pirlo showed his qualities with a dead ball, establishing a reputation as one of the best set piece takers in world football. Terim’s successor, Carlo Ancelotti, began using Pirlo in a deeper role, a tactical masterstroke that to this day continues to pay dividends. Over the last decade he has been a highly influential figure in Milan's team; starting regularly, achieving a phenomenally high pass rate, contributing many assists and chipping in with goals. After coming through the youth ranks at international level, Pirlo made his debut for Italy in 2002. An essential player for various managers, he has amassed seventy-two caps and scored nine goals to date. In recent times injury problems have restricted Andrea somewhat.
Pirlo has featured in four major tournaments for his country, Euro 2004 and 2008 as well as two World Cups. He also participated in two Olympic football tournaments in 2000 and 2004, captaining the side in the latter to win a Bronze Medal. During the 2006 World Cup in Germany he was man of the match three times, including the final, and was awarded with, along with the rest of squad, the Italian order of merit. He also received the Bronze Ball, the accolade given to the third best player in the tournament. Andrea’s major club honors are two Champions' League triumphs in 2003 and 2007, the 2003 Coppa Italia and the 2004 Serie A title. He has also won numerous lesser trophies with Milan.