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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 May, 2004, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Andrea Pirlo
FACTFILE
Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo
Born: 19/05/79
Club: AC Milan
Position: Midfielder
Debut: 07/09/02 v Azerbaijan
Originally considered an attacking midfielder in the Francesco Totti mould, Andrea Pirlo has been successfully converted by Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti into a deep-lying playmaker.

Pirlo came through the youth set-up at Brescia and starred for Italy's Under-21 side but his career stalled after a move to Internazionale.

But after joining rivals AC Milan in 2001, Pirlo proved himself as a world-class performer, winning both the Champions League and Coppa Italia in 2003.

Though a little lightweight for the anchor role, Pirlo is a wonderful passer and is capable of delivering dangerous set-pieces.

Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni has been reluctant to play Pirlo as a defensive midfielder, claiming "it would be like having Zico just in front of the defence".

After watching Pirlo orchestrate Milan's romp to the Serie A title this season, 'Trap' must be tempted to throw caution to the wind and find room for the talented 25-year-old.


Did you know? Pirlo made his Serie A debut for Brescia. aged just 16.




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