Andrea Pirlo is not just one of the most extraordinarily talented footballers of his generation, the likes of which are decidedly few and far between: he is also a man who has seen it all on the pitch, and that is why he knows the appropriate significance to assign to the Bianconeri’s games in the Guinness International Champions Cup.
During a famous career of nearly 20 years in professional football he has enjoyed many glorious seasons, but also a fair share of more complicated campaigns than those spent with Juventus. This depth of experience means that Juve’s results in the recent pre-season friendly championship in America do not worry him in the slightest.
On the topic of the team’s defeats, their loss against L.A. Galaxy being the only one suffered over 90 minutes, he said: “The day before the games we had been putting in a lot of effort during intense training sessions, and so it’s understandable that we then arrived at the matches a bit low on energy. When you don’t win it’s normal that people might be concerned, but we’re confident that we’re training well and doing all that we can to reach full fitness.
“When you lift two consecutive league trophies, people might think it’s going to be easy to do it again a third time. In fact, it requires even more concentration, because everyone will want to beat Juventus.
“In that sense our recent results have spurred people on, and it means that we will have to be even more alert. This season is certainly going to be a difficult one. We will have to be ready for the Italian Super Cup and we’ll reach our peak for the start of the Champions League.”
The campaign will indeed be tough, given the high level of Juve’s adversaries this year. Yet for Pirlo the strength to be found within Serie A is more a point of pride than a problem, ambassador as he is for Italian football throughout the world.
Commenting on the club’s rivals for the Scudetto, he said: “With Napoli, Milan, Inter, Roma, and Fiorentina there’s going to be lots of good football played this year, and it’s going to be hard work for us. Those teams have invested well in some great champions and I believe that that’s a sign of a renaissance for Italian football: it’s returning to its past glory.”
On the Bianconeri’s aims for the season, he was unequivocally clear: “There is only one objective – to win – and to do so we will have to give our all. We’re working really hard to be fully fit and raring to go for the start of the new season.
“Only once during the Quinquennio has Juve ever won three Scudetto titles in a row, and so that opportunity to make history is an even greater incentive for us to do our best. The club is very ambitious and I hope to see out my career here. This team is my priority.”