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Pirlo: ‘Why I retired’

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Andrea Pirlo explains why he decided to retire from football, and would include Gennaro Gattuso in his ideal team “to watch my back”.

The midfielder hung up his boots at the end of the 2017 MLS season, and will play a farewell match at San Siro later this month.

“I didn’t want to get to that point where people look at each other in the stands if you overhit a pass or miss a shot and think: ‘Pirlo’s old, he’s finished, he can’t do it anymore’,” Pirlo told Vanity Fair.

“I couldn’t have endured that.

“If I hadn’t been a footballer? I didn’t have a Plan B. I started playing with my brother, with a sponge ball. I always thought that playing football was my destiny.

“As for the future, I have a lot of time to think about it, we’ll see, but there’s no hurry. For now, I’m enjoying time with my children. I like traveling, I’m not at all a creature of habit.

“Coaching? I have to get my licence first, but it could be an idea.”

Pirlo was also asked to name his ideal five-a-side team.

“I’d take [Alessandro] Nesta in defence, I shared a room with him for years with the national team. Ronaldo, Il Fenomeno, up-front, I played with him at Inter.

“[Gigi] Buffon’s in goal and I’m in the middle, but I’ll take Gattuso to watch my back.”

The former midfielder then discussed the various Coaches who shaped his career.

“I had extraordinary ones,” Pirlo said.

“With Mazzone I changed role by moving from trequartista to playmaker in front of the defence, then there was [Carlo] Ancelotti, a brother.

“[Antonio] Conte is above everyone though. I was lucky enough to meet him at the right time, after the farewell to Milan in 2011. Conte taught me a lot.

“Everyone gave me something though. The Englishman [Roy] Hodgson at Inter called me ‘Pirla’ [a rude word in Italian. He claimed it was a language problem, he didn’t know Italian very well.”

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