Pirlo: I Think Therefore I Play [A Sycophant’s Book Review]

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Amazon Kindle Edition of Pirlo’s Autobiography -$9.99 and Delivered Instantly

My love of Andrea Pirlo is well established and all-encompassing.  I pre-ordered the hardcopy of the book the day it went on pre-sale in the UK like two months ago and expect it to be here by the end of the month.  On its publication date I tried to download the kindle version from the UK and the US Amazon stores.  UK told me they only sell to UK addresses and US did not have it at all.

On a whim Friday night I checked US Amazon again, it was there!  Downloaded it instantly, started reading and barely stopped until it was done.   Seriously, I had finished it about 10 hours after I started it and that includes sleeping and seeing the World Cup.

It was fantastic, feeling more like a well written long-form magazine article or a behind the scenes documentary than an autobiography.  Actually, it is like a guy having a few beers telling war stories at the pub.  He hold you enthralled without really trying.

Unlike say Zlatan’s autobiography, there is very little on his childhood or his family.  He goes into great detail about his desire to keep his family’s privacy protected and therefore does not really talk about them.  He has precious few mentions of (ex?) wife and their two children and those mentions actually seamlessly flow with the broader story.

The book reads exactly as he plays: elegant, direct, everything held close to the vest and perfectly delivered.  There is no demeaning anyone, no chest-thumbing, no bravado, just funny stories and interesting insights.  There is not a lot of in-depth, introspection; settling of scores; or ego stroking.  Even when he does take on someone, it is still in a funny, intelligent way.  Much more snarky, sarcastic but good-natured mocking; than cowardly, brutal attack where the people cannot respond.

For example,  he talks about he and his Milan/Azzurri teammates would play practical jokes on each other…  OH BTW, PIRLO IS FLIPPING HILARIOUS, shockingly so…  The stuff he and the boys used to do with Rino Gattuso is laugh out loud literally comic gold.   The kids at goal.com  have one of the Gattuso excerpts on their site  this is the writing style throughout the book.. nothing harsh but funny.

The other surprising thing about his writing are the many, many and varied pop-culture references both related to Italian and more global pop culture.  He references movies, history, politics, science, tv, etc and it all works (luckily some of them are footnoted for the non-Italian reader) .

When addressing his own experiences with racism, being called a Romai (gypsy) or talking about Mario and Kevin Boateng experiences, he forcefully expresses himself and his feelings but with a very eloquent simplicity.    It is honest and compelling.

I think that my favorite story is at the end when the Qatari try to sign him to play in Qatar.  It was brilliantly told like he had just landed in the land of Oz and the muchkins were singing to him.  An Example:

“Andrea, how many kids have you got?”

“Two”

“Well, we’ve an excellent English language school in Qatar”

“I actually quite like hearing them speak Italian”

“No problem. We’ll build a new one and only employ a Italian teachers.”

It is a very brief but incredibly interesting insight into how the Qatari work, especially given the current speculation/proof of bribery for the world cup.

Anyone who loves soccer, loves good story-telling or just loves to laugh should enjoy this book.   I was afraid that I would like him less or be way less amused with him after reading it like I was with Zlatan after reading his autobiography.  Just the opposite, I adore Pirlo more.  Also I really want to drink with him

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