Extracts of the autobiography of one of the classiest players in world football, Andrea Pirlo, has been grabbing headlines over the last couple of days. Pirlo has always caught the eye with his Rolls-Royce style of play on the pitch and early indications suggest that his book titled – I Think Therefore I Play, is also equally insightful.
Pirlo has touched on subjects from how he nearly moved to Chelsea in 2009 to his suspicion that the Deportivo La Coruna players had taken performance enhancing substance in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions quarter final clash against AC Milan to overturn a 4-1 deficit.
The 34-year old has also made an interesting interpretation of former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s usage of Park Ji-Sung by calling the midfielder – the Scotsman’s ‘guard dog’.
During his seven year stay at Old Trafford, Park had earned a cult-hero status at the club. Although not always a regular starter the Korean star was mostly picked by Ferguson for the big matches due to his tireless running and never-say-die attitude.
Pirlo states that one time when United squared off against Milan in the Champions League, Ferguson had programmed Park to stop him from dictating the play and such was the level of commitment from the Korean star that it looked the midfielder had agreed to be used as a guard dog.
Pirlo writes, “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.”