In 2011, AC Milan elected to adopt a new policy in which players over the age of thirty would not be offered extended contracts. The following year, stars such as Clarence Seedorf, Mark van Bommel, Alessandro Nesta and Filippo Inzaghi all left the club. By 2014 Milan, who’d won the scudetto in 2010, were unable to qualify for even the Europa League, finishing 8th in Serie A.
One of the first to exit was Andrea Pirlo, who’d been with the rossoneri since 2001. He’d made 284 appearances for the club, helping them to two league titles and two Champions League trophies. But they let him go to Juventus on a free transfer. Since joining the Old Lady, Pirlo has amassed three more Serie A titles, with the club hoisting the trophy for the past three consecutive seasons.
Moral of the story? Think very, very hard before implementing a blanket policy on contract extensions for your club.
Juventus have just signed Pirlo, now 35, to a two-year contract extension, putting their faith in his ability to remain a footballing genius long past the point where many are booking their courses in coaching badges. Since joining up with the bianconeri, the midfielder has made 99 appearances, scoring 12 goals.
But the mere numbers do nothing to indicate Pirlo’s worth to the team. He’s their midfield maestro, orchestrating the play with perfect passes. Oh, and he has an absolutely deadly free kick, as well.
Pirlo does much the same for the Italian national team. He’s certain to be in Cesare Prandelli’s starting XI, making sure things go smoothly for the azzurri in their opening World Cup match against England. You can watch the match, taking place in Manaus, on Saturday, June 13 at 6 p.m. ET.