Andrea Pirlo is one of the best midfielders to ever step between the chalk. His passing abilities have led his clubs to a combined four Scudetti (with a fifth on the way), two Champions League wins, a Coppa Italia, three Supercoppas and two UEFA Super Cups. He also guided Italy to the Holy Grail of a World Cup title in 2006.
He is still playing at the top of his game, but at 34 years old, his storied career is coming to a close. Of a more immediate concern for Juventus is that the three-year contract that he signed after being let go by AC Milan in 2010 will expire this summer.
All signs indicate that the latter concern won't be a huge issue. He was quoted last month by La Gazetta dello Sport (h/t Sky Sports) as saying, "There is absolutely no chance I won't sign a new deal." Juve fans are reportedly set to see him in black and white for at least another two years.
The club needs to use those two years to discover who will be replacing "l'architetto" in the lineup when he does hang up his boots. Players of his level come once in a generation, but there are players in the Juve setup who, with a little more seasoning, have the ability to step into his role.
Who can Juve send up through the ranks when Pirlo is done? Let's take a closer look.