His first coaching experience had not been up to a career filled with titles: the Italian Andrea Pirlo, new coach of the modest Turkish club of Fatih Karagümrük (Turkey), promised on Monday to bring his style of play to Istanbul and achieve “success”.
“It was important to start again after a year’s break,” said Pirlo in Turkey, blue jacket and impeccable white shirt, during his presentation to the press in a chic hotel on the European shore of Istanbul.
Pirlo begins a new stage in Turkey. For his second experience as a coach, it is far from northern Italy, where he was born and spent most of his career, that the 2006 world champion will try to perfect his skills, at the head of a team that finished 8th in the league this season.
“I will try to bring [in Turkey] the football that I have in mind (…) and I hope it will be a season full of success, said the former leader of Juventus and Barcelona. ‘AC Milan, chaining the short answers, faithful to his reputation as an introvert.
His arrival may look like a downgrade: the 43-year-old Italian was dismissed in May 2021 by Juventus Turin at the end of his very first season as a coach, marked by two titles (Italian Cup and Super Cup) but disappointments in the Champions League and in the league.
Propelled coach of the Old Lady his coaching diploma barely obtained, the introverted “regista” could not do better than 4th place in Serie A, interrupting a historic series of nine consecutive titles of Italian champion of the Bianconeri.
Gone is also the Champions League and the stands filled with tifosi: 675 supporters came on average last season to come and see the players of Fatih Karagümrük, who nevertheless plays at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, which can hold 100 times more.
“I am a football lover, I have always followed foreign championships, including the Turkish championship”, confided the “Maestro” to justify his choice.
Pirlo also confessed that returning to the Istanbul Olympic Stadium in Turkey would be a “bad memory” that he would try to erase quickly: it was there that with AC Milan, in 2005, he lost a legendary final Champions League against Liverpool after he and his teammates led 3-0 in the first half.
The ex-player, who has won almost everything with AC Milan, Juventus and the Italian selection (1 World Cup, 2 Champions Leagues and 6 Italian championships), will be on a mission to shoot for the heights of the Süper Lig the Fatih Karagümrük.
Based in the Fatih district of Istanbul, the club, which moved up to the Turkish first division at the end of the 2020/21 season, has everything modest: its budget (the 12th in the Süper Lig), its stadium (not approved for the first division ) and a Twitter account (uncertified) which has just crossed the 40,000 subscriber mark after the announcement of the signing of the Maestro, far from the 25 million followers accumulated by Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Besiktas, the three big Istanbul teams.
“As you can guess, the fact that we don’t have our own stadium, our own training center or even a bus in our name made negotiations difficult for us,” admitted the club’s vice-president. Turkish, Serkan Hurma, in front of the press.
The club, one of the eight Istanbul players who will play in the first division next season, had already been coached by another Italian, Francesco Farioli.
It also has several Italian players in its squad, including goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano, who notably worked for Sampdoria in Genoa, and striker Fabio Borini.
“I had seen that there were Italians playing in this team, so out of curiosity I had started following it in recent years,” said Andrea Pirlo, who also promised to take some time off. here the beginning of the season to visit the city.