Euro 2012: Why Andrea Pirlo Is the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament

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Euro 2012: Why Andrea Pirlo Is the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Andrea Pirlo, the 33-year-old Italian midfield maestro, has been the most valuable player at Euro 2012 and his performance against England solidified why.

The Juventus player was able to carve paths through the England defense and provide his teammates with many spectacular passes and a very risky penalty kick.

Pirlo has been one of the top Italian players for years at the club level but when it gets to the international level, he is the best of the Azzurri players on the pitch.

Without Pirlo in the midfield, the Italian team would not be able to function the way they do.

Pirlo is not the best player at Euro 2012 but he is the most valuable.

Of the four teams remaining at the tournament, the other three have players that can step in and replace their star players if they underperform or are hurt.

Spain and Germany both have depth charts that could field two world-class teams while Portugal has enough quality in players like Nani that can step into the spotlight when Cristiano Ronaldo is not visible on the pitch.

Italy does not have the star power or the young players on the bench that can fill in like Spain and Germany, nor do they have numerous superstars on the pitch like Portugal and the two other nations mentioned above.

Italy has Andrea Pirlo.

Pirlo has led Italy through to the semifinals with his mesmerizing knowledge of the game.

Pirlo, the provider, has sent cross after cross directly on to the foot of each of his teammates, and he sees the game like no other player on the pitch.

Pirlo, the scorer, has had a magical free kick goal against Croatia and his daring chip during the penalty shootout in Sunday's quarterfinal against England.

At 33, his better years may still be ahead of him as Pirlo made a move to Juventus from AC Milan and won the Serie A title with the Old Lady of Italian football and resurrected his career—if it really needed one in the first place.

With the Azzurri lacking any successors to Pirlo's role in midfield and the fact that he will be playing quality top-flight football for at least a few more years, Pirlo could lead Italy into the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

One thing is for sure about Pirlo: For as long as he plays, he will be very valuable to his club and even more valuable with his country, and he will continue to amaze fans game after game with his brilliant play.

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