The end of the European football season is drawing near, following a gruelling schedule over the last two years that has included the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The 2015 UEFA Champions League Final takes place in Berlin’s Olympiastadion on 6th June. Once the competing finalists are decided there is bound to be the usual high demand for tickets among supporters. Despite such a taxing schedule for players, ex-Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara believes that two veteran stars can still provide the quality and guile required for the Bianconeri to be there themselves.
Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo, at 37 and 35 years of age, may be in the twilight of their playing careers but that fact does not deter Ferrara from making the prediction.
“We are talking about two phenomena,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “They have made history in world football, not just in Italy. In their case, age does not matter…Gigi and Andrea have unique experience.”
“Why can’t they reach the final?”
First, of course, Juve must expand on their narrow 1-0 Quarter Final first leg win over AS Monaco. The match was one in which old hand Pirlo had a big part to play—but it was a calculated gamble by coach Massimiliano Allegri to even start his midfield maestro, who has been suffering from a calf muscle strain.
After the game, Allegri praised Pirlo’s role in the victory: “Set pieces can be decisive in these games and I needed a touch of quality on the passes in midfield to break through those tiny spaces. In fact his pass was decisive for the penalty.”
Pirlo returned the praise, claiming that Ferrara’s past experience of leading AC Milan to the latter stages of the UCL has brought Juve a “so much peace” and a “sense of security.”
Buffon, meanwhile, took the opportunity after the game to reassure his coach, team-mates and Juve fans that he was not entertaining the idea of retirement just yet.
“A player stops when he feels that he is no longer what he was before on the pitch,” Buffon said. “Looking at it objectively, that is not my case. I will continue to keep playing as long as I am doing well, otherwise it would be a waste. Why bid farewell to football if you are playing well?”
One could also say the same about this year’s UEFA Champions League. Although still to play a second leg and so many quality teams still involved, at this late stage of the competition, why bid farewell?