Maldini, Buffon and Baggio feature in star-studded farewell for Italy legend Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo celebrates with teammates at the end of his testimonial match. (AFP)
Updated 22 May 2018

Maldini, Buffon and Baggio feature in star-studded farewell for Italy legend Pirlo

  • Filippo Inzaghi scores hat-trick in 7-7 draw
  • Pirlo bows out having won 116 caps for his country

MILAN: Former Italy star Andrea Pirlo took to the pitch for the final time to say goodbye to football in a star-studded testimonial “Night of the Master” tournament at the San Siro on Monday.
Champions and former teammates from all over the world — from Paolo Maldini to Gianluigi Buffon, and Roberto Baggio to Frank Lampard — joined the retiring legend to celebrate the final act of a glittering career.
“I thank my friends and all the people who came to the stadium to enjoy a fantastic evening of entertainment, sport and charity,” the 39-year-old said as he received a standing ovation from 50,000 fans.
Towards the end of the match which finished 7-7 with a hat-trick from former AC Milan and Juventus striker Filippo Inzaghi, Pirlo gave his place to his 15-year-old son Nicolo, also a midfielder and who plays for Juventus’s youth team.
“He has fun and I’m happy, he must be happy to play football, it’s the best thing in the world, in the future we’ll see,” said Pirlo.
And there was no lack of coaching talent either on the bench with former AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti leading the ‘White Stars’ team and Juventus’s Massimiliano Allegri in charge of the ‘Blue Stars’.
Italian FA vice-commissioner Alessandro Costacurta, another former AC Milan player, and who has said Pirlo could have a future role in the federation, also took to the pitch.
Pirlo said he was considering coaching.
“I have time to think about what to do. I stopped recently, I don’t miss the pitch. In the future it could be coaching,” he said.
“All my ex-teammates didn’t want to become coaches, yet they’ve all done it.”
Capped 116 times for Italy, Pirlo called time on his illustrious career last November after winning the 2006 World Cup, two Champions League titles and six Serie A trophies.
Pirlo began his career at Brescia and also played for Inter, AC Milan and Juventus before moving to play in New York City FC in the MLS.
“I chose May 21 because 21 is my number and I made my debut in May,” said Pirlo.


Aguero reaches 400 goals in Man City stroll, Newcastle stun Spurs

Updated 47 min 17 sec ago

Aguero reaches 400 goals in Man City stroll, Newcastle stun Spurs

  • Argentine striker inspired the champions’ 3-1 win at Bournemouth
  • Raheem Sterling was also on the scoresheet — making it six goals in four games this term

London: Sergio Aguero reached 400 career goals as the Manchester City striker inspired the champions’ 3-1 win at Bournemouth, while Tottenham suffered a shock 1-0 defeat against Newcastle on Sunday.
With Premier League leaders Liverpool off to a perfect start with three successive victories, City are already under pressure to keep pace.
Pep Guardiola’s side did just that thanks to Aguero as City’s record goalscorer hit another milestone with a clinical double in the south-coast sunshine.
Raheem Sterling was also on the scoresheet — making it six goals in four games this term for the England winger — as City’s second win of the season lifted them to within two points of Liverpool.
It was a landmark day all round for City, with captain David Silva involved in all three of the goals on his 400th appearance for the club.
“We felt Bournemouth’s physicality, a nice three points and a big compliment to the players, a few things to improve, that’s good it’s happened when we are winning games,” Guardiola said.
“The quality of our players in front made the difference and we won the game.”
Guardiola was less enthused by a VAR review that denied City a penalty when Jefferson Lerma appeared to trip Silva.
City were last week left frustrated during a 2-2 draw with Tottenham when a last-gasp goal from Gabriel Jesus was disallowed by VAR due to a contentious handball against Aymeric Laporte.
Asked if City deserved a spot-kick, Guardiola replied in an sardonic manner: “No, no, no. Penalty? No.
“It was clear hands last game, clear hands. A penalty today? No, please.
“The challenge this season will be amazing for us after winning back-to-back two titles, the challenge will be great.”
Meanwhile, Steve Bruce silenced his critics as Newcastle won at Tottenham to secure their first points under the polarizing Magpies boss.
Since taking over from Rafael Benitez in the close-season, Bruce had found himself under pressure after losing his first two games, with fans doubting his credentials and former players claiming his squad were uncertain about his methods.
But Joelinton first goal for Newcastle in the 27th minute gave Bruce some breathing space for a few days at least.
Davinson Sanchez was caught playing the offside trap, allowing Brazilian forward Joelinton to collected Christian Atsu’s inch-perfect ball and fire home.
Newcastle were helped by a poor performance from Tottenham, who have won only once in their first three games.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side were frustrated by VAR after the decision-review system ruled not to award a penalty when Harry Kane had tumbled under a challenge from Jamaal Lascelles.
Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen was only used as a substitute amid uncertainty surrounding his future ahead of the European transfer window shutting next week.
In the day’s other game, Wolves forward Raul Jimenez scored a stoppage-time penalty to rescue a 1-1 draw against Burnley at Molineux.
Ashley Barnes had put Burnley in front after 13 minutes with a blistering strike, giving the forward four goals in three games this season.
But Jimenez netted from the spot in the 97th minute after the Mexican was tripped by Erik Pieters.
Wolves have drawn all three of their league games this term.