Andrea Pirlo mugged off Joe Hart during England vs Italy in 2012

  • Rob Swan

No list of the coolest footballers of all time would be complete without a mention for Andrea Pirlo.

The Italian oozed class and made the beautiful game look so effortless.

As well as starring for several top clubs including AC Milan and Juventus, the side he currently manages, Pirlo also represented the Italian national team 116 times during his illustrious career.

Only Gianluigi Buffon (176), Fabio Cannavaro (136), Paolo Maldini (126) and Daniele De Rossi (117) have made more appearances for the Azzurri.

Pirlo scored 13 goals for his country, but arguably the most famous goal of the lot didn’t count towards his official tally because it was scored in a penalty shoot-out.


Italy played England in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

With nothing to separate the two teams after 120 minutes, the tie was decided on penalties.

The Three Lions went 2-1 up in the shoot-out after Wayne Rooney converted following Riccardo Montolivo’s missed effort.

Joe Hart attempted to psyche out Pirlo

Up next was Pirlo, and England goalkeeper Joe Hart did all he could to try and psyche out the Italian maestro with various antics on his goal-line.


Pirlo mugged off Hart in style

But Pirlo - typically cool, calm and collected - ran up and sent Hart flying with an outrageously deft Panenka.

Watch Pirlo’s audacious spot-kick here…

Different class!

Pirlo explains what went through his head before England penalty

And here’s Pirlo explaining what was going through his mind at the time…

“I saw Hart was practically down on the ground already, so I tried it,” Pirlo said after the match, per Football Italia. “I didn’t think about what would happen if I’d got it wrong, it was just a spontaneous thing.

“Hart looked very confident in himself, so I thought we had to bring him down a peg or two.

“The nicest thing about all this was when my football colleagues complimented me for the penalty. That is always pleasing.”

Was this the beginning of the end of Hart’s reputation as an elite goalkeeper?


Pirlo: I don't feel pressure

Unlike the England goalkeeper, Pirlo never allowed emotions to get the better of him on the biggest occasions.

"I don’t feel pressure,” he famously admitted. “I don’t give a toss about it.

“I spent the afternoon of Sunday, 9 July, 2006 in Berlin sleeping and playing the PlayStation. In the evening, I went out and won the World Cup."


What a man.

Pirlo, now 42, has been retired for four years now and it will be some time before any footballer comes remotely close to the Italian on the coolness scale.

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