BREAKING: Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo signs new two-year contract!— Eurosport.com EN (@EurosportCom_EN) June 11, 2014
Even at age 34, when many players begin suffering a noticeable drop in overall performance, Pirlo has remained a key piece of the puzzle for the Vecchia Signora.
The Italian international started in 29 Serie A matches for the club this season. He recorded four goals and six assists in those games, per WhoScored, while serving as the key pivot point between the defence and the attack as Juventus closed in on another league title.
Do you agree with the Pirlo extension?
Above all else, the stability he provides in the middle of the pitch is invaluable. Clearly, the club agreed with that and decided to lock him up for a while longer.
Pirlo joined Juventus in 2011 after a decade playing for fellow Italian side AC Milan. He quickly established himself as a vital resource for his new club, just like he had done with the Rossoneri. And nothing has changed in the years that have followed.
Famed for an outrageous ability to curl home free-kicks, Pirlo's set pieces remain one of his most recognised attributes. Squawka summed up exactly why:
Over the last 2 seasons, Andrea Pirlo has scored 9 goals from free kicks in the league; more than any player across Europe's top 5 leagues.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 11, 2014
As you'd expect from such a world-class midfielder, Pirlo's career is laden with trophies. This is a player who has won Serie B once, Serie A five times, the Coppa Italia, three Supercoppa Italia titles and a duo of Champions League successes. Let's not forget the FIFA Club World Cup, and of course, the World Cup with Italy.
The extension doesn't come as much of a surprise. Nadia Carminati of Sky Sports passed along recent comments the midfielder made on Italian radio station Radio DeeJay about re-signing and how he feels about his current ability level:
We are close. We are waiting only for the right moment to meet and to decide everything.
I think I am able to for another few years at this level. When I don't see myself at the top, I'll be the first to know. But whilst I feel good, I'll continue playing.
Should Andrea Pirlo be considered an all-time great?
Now that the deal is official, the rumours about Pirlo's future will fade away and he can focus on maintaining the level of performance we all expect.
The World Cup kicks off on Thursday, with Italy hoping Pirlo can play an important role once again. He is viewed as a key danger man when the Azzurri meet England in their opening encounter. Pirlo will need to meticulously maintain and distribute possession in the centre, evading the path of Three Lions veteran Steven Gerrard in the process.
If he does this, and Italy score the win, you can bet Cesare Prandelli's men will post yet another strong performance in the major tournament.
Based on Pirlo's level of play with the Bianconeri this season, there's no reason to believe he'll be anything less than one of the most efficient midfielders in Brazil. Juventus just hope he's able to continue in such good form for a few more years.