I Think Therefore I Play – Andrea Pirlo

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I think it’s fair to say that most footballers’ autobiographies follow the same sort of structure. We learn a little about the player’s formative years, we get a small bit of inside anecdotal information about some of the clubs and players they played for and with, as well as some finer details about a more widely known or famous incident or two from their careers.

Andrea Pirlo’s effort is no different, but the thing that sets the book apart from others, is the wonderful turn of phrase used by the Italian throughout. The cynic in me would deduce that ghost writer Alessandro Alciato probably provided much of the flowery language, but I want to believe that Pirlo could be as much of a poet off the pitch as he was on it. There were plenty of lines and sentences I read back to myself half a dozen times while smiling. It’s extremely difficult to write about football without using a tonne of clichés, but Pirlo (and Alciato) manage to quite effortlessly:

“I would never have expected it. Perhaps I’d spent so much time on the PlayStation that I’d ended up inside it, sucked into a parallel universe by my favourite hobby and now at the mercy of a puppeteer with some kind of enchanted hand.”

There are no huge surprises or major controversies, but at just 150 pages long, it really is a nice little read. Pirlo is effusive in his praise for former colleagues, but it never comes across as if he is playing things safe in any attempt to dodge controversial opinion. We get a sense of what motivates one of the last football purists, likewise we learn what frustrates and even haunts Pirlo (I’m sure Liverpool fans can guess?).

The book reflects Pirlo’s famous calm disposition, but is engaging and interesting enough to keep you turning the pages. It’s just a pity it wasn’t a little longer. I guess that’s a compliment in itself.

3.5 out of 5