One of the finest midfielders to have ever graced football retired this week in the form of Andrea Pirlo.
There was just something special about how the Italian strolled around the pitch effortlessly.
He wasn’t quick, he wasn’t skillful and it he wasn’t particularly strong. And yet he could pull the strings during some of the biggest matches in world football.
Simply put, you don’t play for Internationale, AC Milan and Juventus if you’re not world-class. Not to mention the six league titles, two Champions League and a World Cup that he won during that time.
There’s simply no denying that Pirlo was one of the very best.
But he also came up against other world-class midfielders during his career.
The fact that he only made one FIFPro World XI - in 2006 - was because of a number of quality midfielders that also played during his career.
One of those was Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta.
Iniesta has been included in nine FIFPro World XI and has won countless trophies at the Camp Nou.
Iniesta and Pirlo have clashed numerous times in the Champions League and international tournaments.
And while they were often rivals on the pitch, it seems there is respect off of it.
That much could be seen from Iniesta’s tweet after Pirlo announced his retirement.
Iniesta's tweet to Pirlo
He took to Twitter to write: “Thank you for so much football master,” accompanied with an image of them playing each other for Spain and Italy respectively.
Pirlo himself took to Twitter on Monday to reveal that he was retiring and posted a heart-warming statement.
The 38-year-old has spent his final three seasons at New York City in the United States and thanked all of his fans for their support during his career.
We’ll miss you, Andrea.