ANDREA PIRLO once snubbed Cristiano Ronaldo in favour of Lionel Messi in a dream XI – and always picked Barcelona on the PlayStation.
The legendary Italian may have an awkward conversation in pre-season, though, after taking over as Juventus boss.
Andrea Pirlo picked his dream XI in 2015 and there was no space for Cristiano Ronaldo, who he will now manage at Juventus
Pirlo, 41, replaced Maurizio Sarri at the Allianz Stadium and his first job may be to make peace with superstar Ronaldo – especially after describing Messi as “the best”.
He played against both Messi and Ronaldo during his illustrious playing career but was certain when asked who the toughest he faced was, choosing the Barcelona skipper.
And then in an Instagram post sharing a picture with the Argentine in 2015, Pirlo wrote: “A great meeting with the best…”
He even admitted whenever playing video-game football with Alessandro Nesta during their days at AC Milan, he always chose the Nou Camp club.
Pirlo said: “After the wheel, the best invention is the PlayStation.
“Me against Nesta was a clasico of our time at Milanello. We’d get in early, have breakfast at 9 then close ourselves off in our room to challenge each other, train, have lunch and then it was back in our room again until 4 in the afternoon.
“Our battles were pure adrenaline. I chose Barcelona, Sandrino did too. Barca against Barca.”
But asked to fulfil his dream XI from players to have played in the Champions League, there was no spot in the side for Ronaldo.
Admittedly this was five years ago and since then the Portuguese hero has won another three European titles and broke numerous goalscoring records, now sitting proudly at the top of the all-time chart with 130 goals.
But with no Ronaldo, here is two-time winner Pirlo’s Champions League dream team from 2015…
Now his boss at Juventus, Pirlo played alongside and against one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time – his only blot is not winning the Champions League.
Pirlo said: “He has been at the top for so long. He makes saves that no other goalkeeper in the world can make. He knows how to command the defence and give confidence to them.”
The Brazilian full-back redefined the position with his threat going forward as well as in defence and led his country to World Cup glory in 2002.
Pirlo’s assesment: “Trend-setting in being one of the first truly great attacking full backs. Excellent at getting forward, but very strong defensively as well.”
Another AC Milan hero, another iconic figure in Italian – and world football – winning five European Cups and reaching a further three finals.
Pirlo commented: “A defender who could read the game like nobody else, so intelligent and always so calm on the ball. One of the true greats, for both Italy and Milan.”
Will forever be remembered for lifting the World Cup in 2006 and another of the Azzurri clan who just loved defending.
Pirlo said: “A true leader that didn’t need to ask for respect, but naturally got it. Without doubt one of the best central defenders to have ever played.”
Lahm was one of the most solid, consistent performers in his 517 Bayern Munich and 113 Germany appearances, again topped off by lifting the World Cup.
Pirlo said: “One of those players who never makes mistakes, always so reliable for Germany and Bayern. Probably doesn’t always get the credit, because it’s just so normal for him to be playing at such a high level now.”
The tough-tackling, no-nonsense midfielder was perfect foil for Pirlo, allowing the pass maestro to strut his stuff and pull the strings.
Pirlo’s review: “Rino is the opposition’s nightmare. Even in a training game, he plays like it is the World Cup final. The style of his game allows his team-mates time on the ball. Every team needs a Gattuso.”
Everyone knows all about Xavi’s quality, as the metronome in a Barcelona side that ticked better than most.
Pirlo added: “Another intelligent midfield player. Didn’t need to spend the whole time running but would control so many games for Barcelona and Spain with his intelligence and range of passing.”
Played out on the left for England, Scholes was at his best pinging the ball around from the middle of the park – and hitting the odd wondergoal.
Pirlo’s verdict: “The truly great English midfield player of the generation. Didn’t just play the game, he thought about the game. You could see every pass, every decision, was based on his intelligence and understanding.”
AC Milan won the 2007 Champions League – and a large part of that was down to the Brazilian’s excellence.
Pirlo said: “I remember how badly we took it as a team when Kaka left Milan. For two or three years he was the best player in the world. There was a point when teams just had no idea how to stop him.”
The winner of four Champions Leagues, six Ballons d’Or and countless other honours and awards, Messi is regarded as the greatest of all time by many, including Pirlo.
Pirlo gushed: “Has achieved so much, but still I am sure will achieve so much more. I don’t need to talk in detail about what he is capable of. Everybody knows he is one of the greatest ever already.”
A lethal finisher inside the box, Inzaghi is one of the best strikers Italy have produced over the years.
Pirlo lauded: “Just the perfect goal scorer. We had this most incredible understanding. We did not even have to look for each other. He knew what pass I would make and I knew where he would be. You gave him a chance and he would take it.”
Lionel Messi is regarded by many as the greatest footballer ever – including by Pirlo
Pirlo hailed Kaka for his instrumental performances as AC Milan won. the Champions League in 2007
By: Joshua Jones
Title: Andrea Pirlo chose Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo in his dream XI and used to pick Barcelona on the Playstation
Sourced From: www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/12379799/andrea-pirlo-messi-cristiano-ronaldo-dream-xi/
Published Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2020 09:13:16 +0000