International

Italy ponder Pirlo puzzle

2015-09-07 15:07
Italy's Andrea Pirlo (Supplied)
Italy's Andrea Pirlo (Supplied)

Milan - Andrea Pirlo's status as one of Italy's 'untouchables' has been shaken after the Azzurri legend was sidelined by coach Antonio Conte in the wake of criticism following a mediocre performance in a Euro 2016 qualifier.

Pirlo has 116 caps and is widely regarded as one of the world's all-time great deep-lying playmakers.

But the 36-year-old's move from four-time consecutive Serie A champions Juventus to New York City FC has coincided with a dip in form and the 'orchestrator', as Pirlo is often known, has looked somewhat out of tune.

Pirlo looked far below his usual best during a 1-0 win over Malta last Thursday and, although he has Conte's backing, he was sidelined for Sunday's 1-0 win at home to Bulgaria which took Italy to he brink of booking their ticket for next summer's finals in France.

The back-to-back wins sent Italy top of Group H with a two-point cushion on Norway and they require just one point from their next two encounters - away to Azerbaijan and at home to Norway - to qualify for the European Championships.

The Euro 2016 finals will Pirlo's last international tournament, but his performance against Malta last week has prompted debate that even that could be a step too far.

"I think every player has to know when it's time to hang up his boots," said Beppe Marotta. Coming from the CEO of Juventus, whom Pirlo helped lead to four 'scudetti' and the Champions League final last season, it must have been painful reading.

Marotta added: "I don't know if that moment has already come for him. It's a decision only he can make."

Read more on:    italy  |  euro 2016  |  andrea pirlo  |  soccer

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
Vote

After Stuart Baxter stepped down as Bafana Bafana head coach, who would you like to see take over?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.