I tweeted this during a Juve UEFA Champions’ League match last November..  Lord the drama it caused after Phil Schoen RTed it.  It was my most discussed tweet of 2013.

Here is the thing, I STAND BY IT.  Pirlo is a genius on a level no one else can match and fewer understand. He would be wasted in the MLS, too few players could play with him and far fewer fans have any real understanding of his brilliance.

I use as evidence the many, many enraged comments it caused.  Between the outrage and the need for many guys to, “explain,” his genius to me, they all just re-enforced my opinion.   All were inaccurate or moreover, incomplete in their sophistication.

Yes, I know his passes are pinpoint perfect, his free kick are works of art and he never gives the ball away.  Everyone know that about him.  None of that is what defines his brilliance; they are just symptoms of it.

For me, Pirlo’s brilliance breaks down to two things:

  • His ability to read very facet of the pitch at once and react to not only current situation but to calculate and react to every possibility as well simultaneously
  • His character on and off the pitch.  He NEVER causes drama.   Not on the pitch.  Not off it.

My favorite Pirlo moment was Summer 2009.  AC Milan were playing a friendly against LA Galaxy. He and Ronaldino played the full 90 minutes.  After the match it was re-gen and condition training.  There were fans scattered all around the stadium. He and Ronaldino walked the entire perimeter of the then Home Depot Center, signing autographs and posing for pictures with every fan who wanted one.

It was not required or for that matter encouraged by his team or LAG, but the two of them did it any way. There were no video records or professional cameras to build-up their brand status.  It was two men who felt these people deserved their attention.   They were gracious, charming; in short, it was a Master Class in Being a Superstar.  It was also ironically the same match that Beckham got into a fight with his own fans: the ying-and-yang of stardom.

Pirlo is perfect to me: as a player and as a professional.  He is perfectly placed in Italy. MLS in 50 years will hopefully be developed to a point where it is ready for a player as unique as Pirlo is. Until that time, it is not a place for him or his glorious man beard.

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