Thursday November 10 2016
Zola: ‘Pjanic like Pirlo’

Gianfranco Zola compares Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic’s free-kick technique to that of Andrea Pirlo.

The Bosnian scored the winner against Chievo on Sunday with a set piece, confirming himself as the latest Bianconero free-kick specialist after the likes of Pirlo, Alessandro Del Piero and Roberto Baggio.

“I’ve looked at some of their free-kicks,” Zola, a specialist himself, explained to Gazzetta dello Sport.

“The basic concepts, the movements: they’re punitive and deadly. Pjanic and Pirlo are very similar, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Miralem had studied Andrea.

“In the past I read that Pirlo was inspired by Juninho Pernambucano, who was also a reference point for Pjanic.

“The secret to a perfect free-kick? It takes training and attention. The closer I was to the goal the more effective I was, whereas [Sinisa] Mihajlovic was more precise the more pitch was between him and the goal.

“Pirlo and Pjanic know how to be precise both close-in and from range. Their technique is similar, they don’t take many steps back from the ball.

“Miralem takes two steps, Pirlo is similar. There are players who hit the ball with their instep, giving it spin.

“Baggio was one of the most skilled at that, but the two of them tend to strike through the middle of the ball, giving it a trajectory from top left to bottom right.

“There’s less curve but more speed, the ball starts fast and dips a lot and that makes it very difficult for goalkeepers. They strike it with their three little toes.

“If Pirlo calls his the ‘maladetta’, well, you could also call Pjanic’s that too.”

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