Tuesday June 26 2012
Memories of 16-year-old star Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo has won over Europe with his performances, but Eugenio Corini remembers “on his debut aged 16 we knew a star had been born.”

The Italy midfielder’s Man of the Match performance and audacious chipped penalty against England has seen him hit the headlines.

“I remember his Serie A debut in Reggiana-Brescia in 1995. He always was destined for greatness,” former Chievo and Palermo midfielder Corini told TMW.

“That year I was playing for Brescia and there was this lad who everyone described as a phenomenon.

“In training he already showed immense quality and at the end of the season he made his debut in a game against Reggiana, aged just 16. That day, we were all fully aware that a star had been born.”

It was May 21 1995 with Pirlo making his Serie A bow just two days after his 16th birthday, becoming Brescia’s youngest ever debutant.

“The most impressive thing about Andrea is his tactical wisdom. He’s not just about technique, but has the ability to make everyone play better and bring balance to the team.

“He is a unique player and the best in the world in his role.”

The chipped penalty over Joe Hart in the shoot-out left many stunned.

“I heard some say it was a crazy gesture, but I think it was a clear manifestation of his talent and clear head in that moment.

“He is totally secure of his abilities and can transmit that sense of belief and confidence to his teammates too.”

Italy will now face Germany in the Euro 2012 semi-final on Thursday.

“Now that they are here, Italy are capable of just about anything,” continued Corini.

“I saw a good Nazionale against England and think they can repeat the performance with the Germans.

“Mario Balotelli was very concentrated in attack and always at the centre of the action despite a few errors.

“If I were Cesare Prandelli, I’d confirm the partnership between Mario and Antonio Cassano, keeping the Antonio Di Natale card up his sleeve for the second half.”