“Enthusiasm and Sacrifice”: Here’s Andrea Pirlo Brand-New Juventus

Andrea Pirlo’s bold adventure as Juventus head coach officially started today. The former playmaker directed his first training session yesterday, but today was his “trial of fire” as he faced for the first time the press in his presentation at the helm of the Bianconeri.

There were no surprises, however, in the 30-minute meeting – except maybe for the blunt honesty by which he addressed the situation of Gonzalo Higuain. “I spoke with Higuain, whom I admire a lot,” Pirlo said.He had an important cycle here, but we decided that our ways need to part. We looked at each other in the eyes and we took this decision,” he added – basically confirming that the Argentine is on the exit list.

Pirlo also put an end to the ongoing speculations regarding Paulo Dybala’s future, arguing that – differently from his fellow countryman Higuain – “he has never been up for sale. He is as an important player as the others and as soon as he comes back from holidays, he will join us.

The brand-new coach also took some time to explain his football credo and how he plans to apply it to Juventus:

I want to bring back some enthusiasm, which has been lacking recently. I want to see a proactive type of football and more control of the play. We need to keep the ball with us and recover it fast when we lose it.”

One may find intriguing that the even-tempered Pirlo – who is not exactly known for his passionate and enthusiastic personality – felt the need to stress the importance of Juventus recovering some enthusiasm. Juve’s coach published a short video at the end of yesterday’s training session on the Bianconeri’s social media channels where he once again appeared mostly controlled and laid back.

Discovering Andrea Pirlo’s passionate and gritty version is going to be as interesting as discovering his skills as football manager, even if the coach suggested that he may rather address the challenge by working on his players’ psychology: “To bring enthusiasm, we need to work, to talk with the players, get them involved, and make them understand our new way of playing.”

When it comes to draw some inspiration, Pirlo recalled the days of Antonio Conte’s Juventus, when he was still a player: “I wish we could have the same passion and cohesion as Conte’s Juve. We need that same spirit as we were a group with some values. I want to bring back the ethic of work and sacrifice.”

Sacrifice, together with enthusiasm, seems to be Andrea Pirlo’s key word in his vision as he stressed the concept again when answering a question about the coexistence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala: “Quality players can play together as long as the whole team shows abnegation and willingness to sacrifice.”

But, at the end of the day, what is going to count are the results on the field. On that note, Pirlo hinted at his possible formation and the type of football he wants to see: “We won’t have a fixed module. We may be playing with either a three-man or a four-man defense. Perhaps we could defend with four and then create with three. I’m thinking of a rotational type of football, where people are eager to recover the ball.”

A few words were spent on the choice of Igor Tudor as his second-in-command: “I needed an assistant with some coaching experience already, who – as a former defender – could look at the defensive phase, and with a certain personality in the locker room. Plus, he is a former Juventino, which makes him perfect for the job,” Pirlo said of the 42-year-old Croatian who has already coached Udinese in Serie A.

Pirlo closed his press conference by addressing the expectable question about him being “meant to succeed” as a coach, just like he seemed to be as a player. “Only the results will confirm if that is the case,” he reiterated, adding that “I believe in my skills and I am eager to work.”

And now, it begins.