Andrea Pirlo is back at Juventus.
And no, it’s not to help out the club’s much-maligned midfield for the last couple weeks of the 2019-20 season. Instead, it’s a different kind of step in his career. You know, his post-playing career, one that has seen him shed the television analyst microphone for something that keeps him much, much closer to the game.
Now, Pirlo will be the man writing the starting lineup for the very first time.
Juventus announced Thursday that Pirlo, the man at the center of the midfield to start the current Scudetto run, is the new manager of the club’s Under-23 side that narrowly missed out on promotion to Serie B just days ago. Pirlo, who turned 41 years old in May, will begin his first-ever managerial position after replacing Fabio Pecchia, who the club parted ways with on July 18 after the 2019-20 campaign came to a close earlier in the month.
Pecchia, Juventus Under-23’s manager for one season, led the team to a Serie C Coppa Italia title as well as the Serie C promotion playoffs, which Juve was edged out by Carrarese.
Pirlo is back, and in a role that has been rumored to happen for the better part of the last year. Yes, even before Pecchia even took over as the second Juventus Under-23 manager in as many years, Pirlo was being linked to the job. Obviously it didn’t materialize right away and as a result Pirlo went to work for Sky Italia, but rumors that he was going to be the squad’s next manager resurfaced a couple of weeks ago.
This time around, the end result ended with Pirlo being hired.
There will be rumors about what Pirlo’s new job will mean for Juventus going forward — and not just what it could mean for the development of the Under-23 team. Some will view this as a potential audition for Pirlo when it comes to managing the big club one day — which makes sense seeing as he will be doing his coaching in the same facilities where Juve’s first team operates at Continassa.
The fact is, right now, we don’t know what kind of manager Pirlo is going to be. We know that he is very much the kind of mind that will do well as a coach, but that obviously doesn’t guarantee success right off the bat. He was never the vocal leader that somebody like Antonio Conte or Rino Gattuso, but the fact that Pirlo pursued his coaching badges after retiring in 2017 tells us that being a manager at the club level was always part of the plan.
That step in the process is now here. And Juventus’ Under-23 team just became a whole lot more interesting and worth our time because of it.