Juventus and Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo recently spoke with Tuttosport about a number of topics including the Ballon d'Or, his future, and most importantly, his fantastic beard.
The former Milan man was seen as an outside shot to take home the prestigious Golden Ball after leading Juventus to the 2011-12 Scudetto and the Azzurri to the final of the 2012 European Championship,but failed to make the final three0man shortlist.
“It’s right that they give the Golden Ball to players who score 80 goals a season, like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, or Iniesta. I’ll just settle for a placing.”
The famed regista seems in no rush to discuss an extension to his current contract with the Bianconeri, having joined in summer 2011 after 10 years with the Rossoneri.
“I’m in no rush to negotiate a renewal,” he said. “I’ll just dedicate myself to what I enjoy – training and playing.
“Let’s see how things are when my contract has expired. I still have a year and a half left on my agreement.”
Pirlo also admitted to his personal annoyance regarding the constant questions surrounding Juventus' recent success.
“I admit that it is difficult to deal with the controversies.
“After Calciopoli, everyone thinks that there is something else behind our successes. In reality, we know that our victories are down to sacrifice and application. But it hurts to hear certain discussions.
“The Juve jersey? I’d prefer a third star on the shirt rather than the 30 sul campo sentence.”
The 33 year-old ha shared that after a few fitness problems to start the campaign, he is now once again in peak shape.
“I needed to train hard at the start of the season, but now I am ready to face game after game,” he added.
“The opposition? I’ve been man-marked for 10 years and I’m not even a trequartista…”
Suspended Juventus boss Antonio Conte returns to the touchline December 9, much to Pirlo's joy.
“We miss Conte a lot, especially at half-time. He has the right words for everyone, he can change the outcome of a game with his tactical adjustments.”
The veteran operator also weighed in on Italy starlet Marco Verratti, as well as burgeoning club teammate Paul Pogba.
“Verratti has similar characteristics to me and he’s really good, but give him time to grow and make mistakes in peace. I consider him to be the continuation of myself.
“Pogba is hard, physically strong and good at getting into scoring situations. He reminds me of Patrick Vieira, but he is still young and he knows that he must improve.”
Finally, Pirlo also was asked to comment on the origins of his beard, an entity so revered by fans that it has been given its own Twitter account.
“It wasn’t bothering me in the summer so I let it grow. Now I don’t waste time shaving…”