Italian Andrea Pirlo is one of the best midfielders of our time. The 33-year-old spent a decade at AC Milan where he won the Uefa Champions League twice before moving to Juventus in 2011.
Since then the ‘Old Lady’ (Juve) has seen a revival of its fortunes not only in the Italian Serie A but also in Europe.
The sublime midfielder lends his views on the upcoming UEFA Champions League return-leg match against Bayern Munich, the famous chip penalty against Joe Hart, the family vineyard and more. Excerpts:
Q) Many see the Bayern Munich vs Juventus tie as the toughest among this season’s quarterfinals. Your personal take on the fixture?
A) It is a top class Champions League fixture! Two of Europe’s best clubs are facing each other with us now having to turn things around after the 0-2 loss in Munich.
Q) How do you rate last week’s first-leg match in Munich?
A) We should start by congratulating Bayern Munich! They were the better team on Tuesday night. Conceding an early goal like that can affect a game of course but they were better in every area. We made lots of mistakes, myself as much as anyone, and I'm very disappointed. I want to say sorry to all the Juve fans out there.
Q) Do you think Bayern Munich showed how to stop Pirlo and an Italian side?
A) As I have said, Bayern with their typically German discipline along with many talented players like Robben, Muller and others played better football on the day and they deserved to win.
Q) And about the upcoming return-leg on Wednesday night?
A) We've still got the return leg to play and there's still hope! After the match in Munich we sat down and analysed what happened that night and then we've worked out how to turn this tie around.
Q) Your coach Antonio Conte was a Juve legend as a player. How do you judge him now as your coach?
A) He is one of the best coaches around. He's managing in the Champions League for the first time and is already proving his worth! We, the players, hope he stays on because it would mean that we'd won again.
Q) Numerous experts of the game say, the way Andrea Pirlo plays has changed the way Italy plays its football?
A) I said it in the past that it's nice to hear, but one player alone, however technically gifted he is, can't change a whole playing system. I think it's best to keep your feet on the ground and keep working hard.
Q) With Italy you are top of your World Cup qualifying group. Are you already thinking about Brazil and the 2014 FIFA World Cup?
A) The World Cup? First, we have to qualify. Then, once we've achieved that objective, I would like to be in top form when it comes around next year!
Q) People still talk about your chip penalty against England's Joe Hart at last year’s Euro 2012. What's your take on that penalty now a few months later?
A) At the time I saw the goalkeeper making strange movements, so I waited for him to move and hit it like that. Actually it was easier for me to chip it at the time. My effort put some extra pressure on England and in fact Ashley Young missed the next one after me. So it worked for us!
Q) Very few will know that your family owns a vineyard. And you are getting more and more involved in the business with age?
A) Yes. The vineyard is our family’s, it is called Pratum Coller and is located outside of Brescia. We make four kinds of wine: a rose, a white and two types of red. And over the years I have read and learned a lot about wine and will dedicate more time to our vineyard once I retire from football.
Professional Management Group