Judging by some of these quotes, Andrea Pirlo's autobiography is a cracking read
We want, nay, we must have this book right now.
Football autobiographies can often be incredibly dull pieces of work that reveal little about the subject that most football fans didn’t know already, but the genre has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent times.
In our opinion at least, two men can take most of the credit for that renaissance.
One is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose autobiography, ‘I am Zlatan’ is truly up there with the best sports books ever written and the other is Andrea Pirlo, the subject of ‘I Think Therefore I Play’ an autobiographical account of one of the coolest footballers on the planet that has just been released.
Extracts from Pirlo’s book, published by BackPage Press, have been serialised in a number of newspapers today and we’ve included a sample of our favourites below, including an unflattering line about warm-ups that fitness coaches everywhere might not enjoy.
On the 2005 Champions League Final defeat to Liverpool…
“I thought about quitting because, after Istanbul, nothing made sense any more. The 2005 Champions League final simply suffocated me.
“To most people’s minds, the reason we lost on penalties was Jerzy Dudek – that jackass of a dancer who took the mickey out of us by swaying about on his line and then rubbed salt into the wound by saving our spot kicks.
“But in time the truly painful sentence was realising that we were entirely to blame.
“How it happened I don’t know, but the fact remains that when the impossible becomes reality, somebody’s f***ed up – in this case, the entire team. A mass suicide where we all joined hands and jumped off the Bosphorus Bridge.”
…(continued) “There are always lessons to be found in the darkest moments. It’s a moral obligation to dig deep and find that little glimmer of hope or pearl of wisdom.
“You might hit upon an elegant phrase that stays with you and makes the journey that little less bitter. I’ve tried with Istanbul and haven’t managed to get beyond these words: for f***’s sake.”
On Park-Ji-Sung man-marking him against Manchester United…
“Even Sir Alex Ferguson, the purple-nosed manager who turned Manchester United into a fearsome battleship, couldn’t resist the temptation. He's a man without blemish, but he ruined that purity just for a moment when it came to me. A fleeting shabbiness came over the legend that night.
“At Milan, he unleashed Park Ji-sung to shadow me. He rushed about at the speed of an electron. He'd fling himself at me, his hands all over my back, trying to intimidate me. He'd look at the ball and not know what it was for.
“They'd programmed him to stop me. His devotion to the task was almost touching. Even though he was a famous player, he consented to being used as a guard dog.”
On why playing for Italy is better than sex (a lot of the time)…
“After the World Cup in Brazil, I'll retire from international football. I'll be hanging up my heart. Until that day, nobody must dare ask me to stop, apart from (Italy coach) Cesare Prandelli, should he have tactical reasons.
“I'll be 35 by then, and it'll be time to give someone else a go.
“Being part of a team that belongs to everyone makes me feel good. A lot of the time, it's better than sex: it lasts longer and if it falls flat, it can't just be your fault.
“Take someone like (Parma striker) Antonio Cassano. He says he's slept with 700 women but he doesn't get picked for Italy any more. Can he really be happy? I wouldn't be.
“That shirt, with its Smurf-like blue, gives you a whole new image across the world. It takes you to a higher level. Much better to be a soldier on the pitch than in the bedroom.”
On an inkling that the Deportivo La Coruna players might have been 'on something' in the 2004 Champions League quarter-final
“We’d won the first game 4-1 and the chances of us not going through were roughly equal to those of seeing Rino Gattuso complete an arts degree.
… (continued) “They were laughing at us that night. The first thing that needs to be said is we did ourselves in. But, looking back with the benefit of hindsight, something doesn’t stack up. Our opponents were going at a thousand miles an hour all night, even the older players who’d never exactly been known for their ability to combine speed with stamina.
“What struck me most was how they kept on running at half-time. To a man: no exceptions. When the referee, Urs Meier, blew his whistle they all shot off down the tunnel as if they were Usain Bolt. They couldn’t stand still even in that 15-minute period designed specifically to let you draw breath or at most just walk about.
“We were chasing shadows all night. Their players were crazy buzz bombs flying around all over the place. I don’t have any proof, so what follows isn’t an accusation – I’d never allow myself to go that far. It’s simply a nasty thought I’ve occasionally let percolate in the intervening years.
“For the first and only time in my life, I’ve wondered if people I’d shared a pitch with might have been on something.
“Maybe it’s all just anger that I haven’t yet managed to work through. But the Deportivo players were like men possessed, galloping towards a target that only they could see. For our part, we were completely blind, and duly brutalised.
“Whatever the truth of the matter, they came up against Porto in the semis and went out. Within a short space of time, they’d disappeared from the face of all the major European competitions.”
“One part of my job I’ll never learn to love is the pre-match warm-up. I hate it with every fibre of my being. It actually disgusts me. It’s nothing but masturbation for conditioning coaches.”
And one that didn't make it...
One quote that didn't appear in the autobiography was Pirlo's supposed thoughts on the Ireland team and the Ireland fans, but fair play to Back Page Football, they briefly caught us out with this one. Fake, but great quote all the same...
Pirlo on Ireland at Euro 2012 - "The team were shit but they had the best fans in the world...ever"
— Back Page Football (@bpfootball) April 15, 2014