Andrea Pirlo has written an autobiography, which covers his Milan leaving gift, how he nearly returned to Inter and dodging bottles thrown by ‘viper’ Antonio Conte.
The midfielder is set to publish his book, titled ‘I think, therefore I play,’ and La Gazzetta dello Sport published some extracts today.
Pirlo reveals he was less than impressed with his parting gift from Milan – a Cartier pen with the club symbol on it.
“A lovely pen, but still a pen. Filled with banal blue ink. Adriano Galliani told me ‘Make sure you don’t use that to sign a new contract with Juventus.’ At least he got the joke right.
“As a goodbye gift I expected something more than that perfect comic timing. My 10 years of Milan, gone like that. I smiled anyway.
“It was a mutual decision to leave, as I did not want to risk suffering from boredom. That is why I was disappointed at the end of that final meeting, but only to the right degree. So was Galliani.”
Pirlo also wrote about the fact Massimiliano Allegri wanted to move him to the left side of midfield rather than in front of the defence.
“I still thought I could give my best there. A fish breathes when it is in deep water. It makes do when near the surface, but it’s not the same thing.
“We never discussed money that afternoon in the spring of 2011. Never. In those 30 minutes, we didn’t broach the subject of economics with Galliani. I just wanted to be considered important, at the centre of a project and not a player heading for the scrap yard.”
He had joined Inter as an Under-21 international, but reveals then-Coach Leonardo tried to bring him back there when his contract expired with Milan in 2011.
“He told me great things about Inter, how happy and fired up he was. It could’ve been a great challenge to go back where I had already been, to cross the city after 10 consecutive years at Milan, nine of which had been extraordinary.
“Leonardo could’ve helped me with that, if he hadn’t gone to Paris Saint-Germain a few weeks later. I couldn’t do it, though. It would’ve been really too much and the Milan fans did not deserve an affront like that.”
Pirlo also considered an offer from Roma, but was “suspicious” when the new American owners wouldn’t go into detail about the kind of team they were building.
“I have dealt with many Coaches in my career, but Conte is the one who surprised me the most. He needed just one speech, with many simple words, to conquer both me and Juventus. We arrived together on the Planet Juventus.
“He presented himself to us on the first day of pre-season training in the gym at Bardonecchia. He already had fire running through his veins and moved like a viper. ‘This squad, dear lads, is coming off two consecutive seventh-place finishes. It’s crazy. Shocking. I am not here for this, so it’s time to stop being crap.’
“If Arrigo Sacchi was a genius, then what is he? I expected him to be great, but not that great. I thought of a Coach with a lot of grit and charisma, but instead I discovered he has much to teach his colleagues in terms of tactics and technique.
“Going back, there is one thing I wouldn’t do again – choose the locker right next to Gigi Buffon at the Juventus Stadium, the one in front of the door,” wrote Pirlo.
“It is the most dangerous spot in Turin, especially at half-time. Conte storms in and – even when we are winning – throws anything he can get his hands on towards the wall, which is my spot. He’ll throw anything he can find, almost always plastic bottles full of water. Very fizzy water.
“He becomes a beast and is never happy, as there is always some detail that isn’t perfect and he can see in advance what could happen over the next 45 minutes.
“One time we were losing to Milan and he couldn’t get over it. ‘Against them! I can’t understand how we can’t be beating them! They even play badly.’”
It remains to be seen what Conte will be saying at half-time on Sunday evening when Juventus welcome Milan to Turin.