NEWS
Friday November 30 2012
Pirlo on Ballon d’Or, future and his beard

Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo has spoken to Tuttosport about a variety of subjects – including the Golden Ball, his contract situation, his heir and his beard.

Pirlo was a contender to win the 2012 Ballon d’Or after his stunning year for club and country, but he didn’t make the final three-man shortlist.

“It’s right that they give the Golden Ball to players who score 80 goals a season, like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, or Iniesta. I’ll just settle for a placing.”

Pirlo joined the Old Lady in the summer of 2011 after his contract at Milan expired, but how long will he remain in Turin?

“I’m in no rush to negotiate a renewal,” he said. “I’ll just dedicate myself to what I enjoy – training and playing.

“Let’s see how things are when my contract has expired. I still have a year and a half left on my agreement.”

Pirlo got his Bianconeri career off to a winning start as they instantly won the Scudetto, but the cloud of suspicion which hangs over his club annoys him.

“I admit that it is difficult to deal with the controversies.

“After Calciopoli, everyone thinks that there is something else behind our successes. In reality, we know that our victories are down to sacrifice and application. But it hurts to hear certain discussions.

“The Juve jersey? I’d prefer a third star on the shirt rather than the 30 sul campo sentence.”

Pirlo had his struggles at the start of this campaign, but the man who is always paid close attention insists he’s now in great shape.

“I needed to train hard at the start of the season, but now I am ready to face game after game,” he continued.

“The opposition? I’ve been man-marked for 10 years and I’m not even a Trequartista…”

Juve’s season has also been complicated by the touchline ban handed to boss Antonio Conte, even if he’ll be back on December 9.

“We miss Conte a lot, especially at half-time. He has the right words for everyone, he can change the outcome of a game with his tactical adjustments.”

Pirlo was also asked for his opinion on Italy and Paris Saint-Germain youngster Marco Verratti, as well as young Juve teammate Paul Pogba.

“Verratti has similar characteristics to me and he’s really good, but give him time to grow and make mistakes in peace. I consider him to be the continuation of myself.

“Pogba is hard, physically strong and good at getting into scoring situations. He reminds me of Patrick Vieira, but he is still young and he knows that he must improve.”

The 33-year-old was also asked what his beard was all about. “It wasn’t bothering me in the summer so I let it grow. Now I don’t waste time shaving…”

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