In two short years, Andrea Pirlo has become one hell of a piece in the Juventus puzzle. Just when Milan thought his career was heading into the twilight, Juventus were there to rejuvenate it. (Okay, pun somewhat intended.)
And while Pirlo has had two straight damn good seasons since he arrived in Turin, there's been something to talk about lately when it comes to the bearded maestro. It's a simple question with a not very simple answer: Should Juventus renew Pirlo's contract when it expires at the end of the upcoming season?
Your gut is saying "OH HELL YES!" isn't it? But things aren't so easy as they may appear to those watching everything from afar — and that's what Pirlo addressed in a very thoughtful interview in the Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday. Some of the quotes are as follows:
"I'll certainly play on, we'll just have to see where. I've already spoken to the club and we'll meet again at the end of the season.
"Juve are my priority, but I don't want to be a weight for anybody. The years go by, but it is not written that I have to stay here just because I am called Pirlo.
"I want to feel important and a part of the side's success, otherwise I'll leave. But I want to underline that it won't be a problem about money or choosing between one club and another.
"If I had to change, perhaps I'll go abroad. I'll certainly continue playing for a high level team."
(Source: Football Italia)
There's also this piece of information, according to a Gazzetta report Friday morning:
Juve offered to extend Pirlo's contract last month, but Pirlo asked the club to wait until next spring according to @Gazzetta_it— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) August 9, 2013
People will freak out about because of that last part of the quotes above. I can't wait until we see the headlines that suggest Pirlo is really thinking about leaving Juventus. Then again, people freak out about anything these days, so maybe we should just overlook all of that nonsense. The thing to take away from Pirlo's interview? He wants to stay at Juventus for the rest of his career as long as he feels like he's still a viable and contributing member within the squad, and Juventus obviously want him to be in Turin.
He may be turning 35 years old just two months before his current contract is set to expire, and that obviously is a huge factor in the equation. Juve will obviously think it through thoroughly when it comes to building around Pirlo going into the future. And it's not exactly breaking news that it will be pretty damn hard to imagine somebody coming in immediately and replacing Pirlo's skill and absolutely awesomeness on the field.
But whatever the case may be, it seems as though Pirlo has made it perfectly clear that his concentration is on the upcoming campaign, not negotiating a contract for the seasons to follow. And it's not like there's anything wrong with that. The man has his priorities and it's hard to argue with the results. I think he's pretty much earned the right based on his value to the squad to initiate contract negotiations.