In his absurdly quotable autobiography, Andrea Pirlo recounted the story of how he left AC Milan for Juventus after over a decade at the San Siro.
It was the summer of 2011. Milan had just won the League in coach Massimiliano Allegri's first season in charge. However, in spite of claiming what was then only the second Serie A title of his career, Pirlo was unhappy. He sensed the manager wasn't prepared to accommodate his talents.
Milan CEO Adriano Galliani told Pirlo
Andrea, our coach Massimiliano Allegri reckons that if you stay, you won’t be able to play in front of the defence. He’s got a different role in mind for you. Still in midfield, but on the left... Even with you sitting on the bench or in the stand we’ve won the league. And you know, Andrea, the strategy’s changed this year. If you’re over 30, we’re only offering a year’s extension.
Pirlo did not fancy the thought of being marooned out on the left wing. In characteristically metaphorical fashion he illustrated his misgivings about this potential new role.
I still thought I could give my best playing in front of the defence. If the sea’s deep, a fish can breathe. If you put him just under the surface, he’ll get by, but it’s not quite the same thing.
He also did like the nagging references to his advancing age. With a three year contract from Juventus on the table, he turned down Milan's offer of a one year deal. Money wasn't a factor, he insisted.
Pirlo went on to enjoy a glorious couple of seasons at Antonio Conte's Juventus, but with Allegri now landing in Turin, what might this mean for Pirlo?