Andrea Pirlo faces mentor Lucescu in Champions League opener

Updated: 20 October, 2020 08:41 IST | AFP | Milan

"It's possible, I hope he does," the Romanian told Tuttosport. "But a coach needs at least six months to stamp his mark on a team." Pirlo took over the reigning nine-time Serie A champions after Maurizo Sarri was sacked

Juventus FC coach  Andrea Pirlo during a training session in Turin on Monday. Pic/Getty Images
Juventus FC coach Andrea Pirlo during a training session in Turin on Monday. Pic/Getty Images

Andrea Pirlo takes his first managerial steps in the Champions League at Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday, a game which pits the fledgling Juventus coach against his vastly experienced former mentor Mircea Lucescu.

Lucescu, 75, and Pirlo, 41, have both taken over their respective clubs this season. But while Italy footballing legend Pirlo never coached before stepping up at his former club, Lucescu has over four decades experience throughout Europe. And it was the former Romanian international who gave Pirlo his first Serie A start when he was 16 in the Italian's hometown club Brescia 25 years ago.

Mircea Lucesc
Mircea Lucesc

The much-travelled Lucescu also later coached Pirlo at Inter Milan in 1998. For Lucescu, who won six league titles as a player with Dinamo Bucharest in the 1960s and 1970s, seeing Pirlo on the opposition bench comes as no surprise. "I was always convinced he would become a coach," said Lucescu. "I thought it about Andrea, and also Diego Simeone, who was one of my players at Pisa. Pirlo had a different personality than 'Cholo' [Simeone] but he was just as charismatic and with a lot of character.

Above all, he never came on the pitch to do nothing, he was decisive. As well as being a creative player, he was someone who organised everything, which is yet another skill." Whether he can follow former players Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane's managerial success remains to be seen.

"It's possible, I hope he does," the Romanian told Tuttosport. "But a coach needs at least six months to stamp his mark on a team." Pirlo took over the reigning nine-time Serie A champions after Maurizo Sarri was sacked.

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First Published: 20 October, 2020 08:28 IST

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