PBP: Xavi Vs Pirlo

Discussion in 'Players & Legends' started by the one and only, Jul 13, 2012.


So who's better???

  1. Xavi

    18 vote(s)
  2. Pirlo

    31 vote(s)
  3. Both overrated

    1 vote(s)
  4. Iniesta will always steal the spotlight from them

    3 vote(s)
  1. SayWhatIWant

    SayWhatIWant Member

    Jan 10, 2015
    Pirlo was playing central long balls oftentimes into "crowded" areas. He was trying to connect directly with the strikers. Xavi was using long balls to switch the play to the winger in ample space. I prefer Pirlo in his peak (06-09ish), but Xavi's later years were better than Pirlo's imo (the latter was slightly overrated toward the end of his European career).
  2. LegendarySunrise

    Jan 26, 2016
    New York
    FC Bayern München
    Nat'l Team:
    Pirlo in Juventus and after 2011 had more protagonism than he was at his prime, that really fooled a lot of people into thinking that was his prime. In fact, he had far passed it. The only thing he did better in Juventus was his defensive tackling ability. Other than that, in terms of his technical ability, agility, athleticism, Pirlo in 2003-07 was by far better.
    SayWhatIWant repped this.
  3. JeremyBrooks

    JeremyBrooks New Member

    Feb 27, 2016
    Arsenal FC
    Pirlo and Zidane have always been my favorite players, I love footballers who have a sort of elegance to their play. Xavi has won more trophies for sure but as far as individual ability is concerned, I think Pirlo is better, or, at least, more pleasing to watch. I am American and I've been playing fantasy soccer for a couple of years now so I know a thing or two about player statistics and I can tell you that, according to fantasysportsdaily.com , Pirlo is still impressive this season in comparison to most of the other MLS players.
  4. LegendarySunrise

    Jan 26, 2016
    New York
    FC Bayern München
    Nat'l Team:
    Player with the talent, vision, intelligence, elegance, and technique of Pirlo only come once every twenty years to twenty-five years. He is a player that can't be replicated. Despite standing on the opposite poles in terms of the style of football they play, Pirlo and Xavi have shared very similar roles and together they have best defined the football of this generation.

    Pep Guardiola once mentioned in his early 2000s interview that with the midfield's gradual favoring of muscle players like (Davids, Vieira, Makelele and Gattuso), the deep-lying playmaker role(Guardiola, Redondo or even Veron) would become extinct. However, the success of Pirlo later revoked Pep's theory and he himself has redefined the deep-lying playmaker role perfectly, this also paved the way for later players like Xavi, Alonso, Fabregas, Schweinsteiger, Busquets, Modric and even the today's young age playmakers Kroos, Thiago, Gundogan and Verratti.

    Paul Scholes is also a very good example, at his early ages he used to play a very attacking advanced role(AM) in Man United, later as he aged and his athleticism dropped, his position dropped back in the midfield and instead of focusing on making attacking runs into the box and supporting strikers in attack like he used to as an AM, he became a CM/DM playmaker who concentrated mainly on patient build-up play, distributing the balls, and dictating the tempo of the play. By dropping into CM/DM position, it also helped him in extending his athletic lifespan.

    Pirlo's importance can't be stressed more. He is the really the one that can make his teammates better. With Pirlo, the Pogba you see today is no longer the one that was deserted by Alex Ferguson's Man United. With Pirlo, the young Marchiso yesterday has become the playmaker of Juventus. With Pirlo, the Vidal you see today has been playing with much more trickery and guile than the one you see at Bayer Leverkusen a few years ago. With Pirlo, when Totti, Del Piero, Gattuso, Camoranesi, Cannavaro, Nesta retired from the NT or when Serie A is no longer the league it was before, Italy fans can still faithfully claim: "WE STILL HAVE PIRLO." For he represents the last dignity and beauty of Italian Football.
    gumbacicc and Pipiolo repped this.
  5. Milan05

    Milan05 Member

    Dec 2, 2015
    AC Milan
    Pirlo should have also won the golden ball over Zidane at the 2006 World Cup.

    - Had 4 assists in the tournament, the equal-most.
    - Scored one of the best goals of the WC against Ghana.
    - Won MOTM in both the semi final and the final.
    - Won a total of 3 MOTM against Ghana, Germany and France.
    - Assist to Grosso in the semi final and Materazzi in the final.

    There is no way Zidane would have won the golden ball if it was voted after the match instead of at halftime. The three players most worthy of the award were Cannavaro, Pirlo or Buffon. The 3 engines of Italy's 2006 team.
    PrimoCalcio and LegendarySunrise repped this.
  6. Milan05

    Milan05 Member

    Dec 2, 2015
    AC Milan
    Under Rijkaard, Xavi was frequently left on the bench. The likes of Edmílson and Van Bommel would regularly start ahead of him. Coincidentally, Xavi did not become the "dominant force" you him to be until the likes of Messi and Iniesta came around. Xavi is almost the same age as Pirlo (8 months younger), so it wasn't because he was young either. When Pirlo was regularly playing in Champions League finals (2003-07), Xavi was not performing at Pirlo's level.

    It's not a coincidence that when Milan was better than Barcelona, Pirlo looked better than Xavi. When Barcelona became the top team of Europe and Italian football faded, Xavi suddenly became a "dominant force" in 2008 after spending the previous 5 years not doing anything like that.

    That is down to the fact that Spain simply had better players and a better squad than Italy from 2008-2012. They had by far the best squad from anyone throughout this period of time, and it wasn't just Xavi. They had Casillas, Puyol, Pique, Ramos, Alba, Alonso, Iniesta, Busquets, Torres, Villa, etc...

    Having won more international trophies does not make Xavi better than Messi, and it does not necessarily make him better than Pirlo either.
    LegendarySunrise and Pipiolo repped this.
  7. LegendarySunrise

    Jan 26, 2016
    New York
    FC Bayern München
    Nat'l Team:
    #282 LegendarySunrise, Mar 12, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
    For me, Pirlo's display of his ability and the importance of the role he played at the 2006 World Cup can be matched to ANY of Xavi's matches in his career(including his prime 2008-11).

    I definitely think that Pirlo should have won the Golden Ball not only because 2006 was his prime and what he had achieved at the time of his prime in 2003-07 but also he was the one that redefines the deep-lying playmaker in modern football. In Pirlo, he himself proved that a player who relies not on muscle and body stance but on his brain, talent, vision and technique can survive in modern football.

    But I disagree with you over Zidane. I think Zidane's display at the 2006 World Cup was outstanding as well despite not winning the champion and the headbutt. For me, Zidane is a player that has some attributes you don't see in Pirlo/Xavi. Given his leadership, his all-round attacking ability, his textbook ball control and dribbling, I think individually he is a better player than Pirlo/Xavi and should be among TOP 10 Footballers in history. In terms of midfielder, only Lothar Matthaus(the best B2B midfielder ever in my opinion) can match Zidane in individual ability over the last 20-30 years.
  8. Milan05

    Milan05 Member

    Dec 2, 2015
    AC Milan
    Zidane didn't really do anything in the group stage though. He was largely invisible against Switzerland and South Korea, got booked in both, and missed the final match against Togo (which France won 2-0 without him). He didn't really come to life until the group stages. Make no mistake about it though, he was brilliant against Spain, Brazil and Portugal. But then in the final, he lost his cool and headbutted Materazzi.

    In my opinion, it would have been more fair to give Cannavaro, Pirlo or Buffon the golden ball. They were just as influential as Zidane, actually won the tournament, were more consistent and did not lose it in the final.

    Not doubting that Zidane was better than Pirlo overall, just not in the 2006 WC.
  9. leadleader

    leadleader Member+

    Aug 19, 2009
    Arsenal FC
    #284 leadleader, Mar 12, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
    In 2003-07 Xavi was playing behind Ronaldinho and Deco, whereas Pirlo 2003-07 was playing the ideal role for his style of play (i.e. deep-lying playmaker). And it is painfully obvious, that Xavi playing behind the best player in the world (Ronaldinho) and behind the best midfielder in the world (Deco), had virtually no chances of looking as good as Pirlo. Pirlo was a playmaker and Xavi was a defensive midfielder; obviously, the playmaker will tend to look better than the boring defensive player.

    Pirlo on the same team as Ronaldinho and Deco, wouldn't had been as good as Pirlo the Milan version (nor as good as Pirlo the Juventus version, for that matter). That's how football works.

    It is a coincidence. Because when Milan was better than Barcelona, Pirlo played the Pirlo role. And when Barcelona wasn't as good as Milan, Xavi played a very rigid role with practically no creative freedom besides feeding the ball to Ronaldinho and Deco in front of him. Obviously, Pirlo looked better because he played his role, whereas Xavi wasn't playing his role. Milan being better or worse than Barcelona is almost entirely redundant in light of the fact that Xavi did not play as a playmaker in the 2003-07 period.

    Essentially, you're comparing a playmaker (Pirlo 2003-07) with a defensive midfielder (Xavi 2003-07), and then saying that the playmaker was the better playmaker... Obviously, the player who was given the chance to play as the playmaker, will look like a better playmaker than the player who was playing a very rigid and boring defensive role. But answer me this: why did Xavi delivered as soon as Guardiola gave him the playmaker role at Barcelona??

    And furthermore, what happened to Pirlo 2007-10?? Cassano was looking amazing in the 2007-10 Seria A, whereas Pirlo looked well past his glory days (which is why Milan let him go for free)... What happened to Pirlo during the 2007-10 days??

    At club level, Pirlo had Kaka, Shevchenko, Seedorf, Gattuso, Maldini, Nesta, Stam, Crespo -- and at club level, Pirlo simply never was as consistent as prime Xavi. Xavi dominated two CL Finals, as well as several big games vs Real Madrid. Pirlo lost a CL Final against an inferior Liverpool (something that simply wouldn't happen with prime Xavi). Pirlo wasn't as highly rated as Xavi was (despite the fact that Pirlo is a more attractive player entertainment-wise). The level of pro-Pirlo revisionism going on in this thread is unreal... Pirlo was a great midfielder, but he never was better than prime Xavi.
  10. LegendarySunrise

    Jan 26, 2016
    New York
    FC Bayern München
    Nat'l Team:
    I respect Xavi as a player. But some Xavi fans like you are purely IGNORANT and just can't pull out from the 2008-11 fantasy forever and can't face the reality. What you did with your recent posts was pure bashing of Pirlo to elevate Xavi to a level that he doesn't deserve to be.

    Please stop day dreaming and destroying this thread, let's wake up and live under the sun. Xavi is undoubtly one of the best midfielders of this generation, but has he surpassed the level of 2003-07 Pirlo? Hell No!
    Like what I said, I admire Xavi's awareness, movement and his intelligence in making the game simple.
    But let's not get obssessed with this, the way you glorified Xavi while bashing Pirlo is totally Gross.
  11. LegendarySunrise

    Jan 26, 2016
    New York
    FC Bayern München
    Nat'l Team:
    #286 LegendarySunrise, Mar 13, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016

    What?Xavi never lost a side as inferior as 2004-05 Liverpool?LMAO....Sorry for being disrespectful but I have to point out that:

    In 2006/07, when surrounded by Messi, Ronaldinho, Eto'o, Deco and Iniesta, Xavi was knocked out by the inferior Liverpool
    In 2007/08, when surrounded by Messi, Ronaldinho, Eto'o, Deco, Iniesta and Henry, Xavi was knocked out by Scholes's Man united
    In 2009/10, when surrounded by Messi, Iniesta, Henry, and Busquets, Xavi was knocked out by Mourniho's Inter.
    In 2011/12, when surrounded by Messi, Iniesta, Villa, Sanchez, and Busquets, Xavi was knocked out by a much weaker Chelsea
    In 2012/13, when surrounded by Messi, Iniesta, Villa, Sanchez, and Busquets, Xavi was trashed 7-0 by Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez
    In 2013, when surrounded by Iniesta, Busquets, Alonso, Fabregas and Silva, Xavi was trashed 3-0 by the weakest Brazilian team of this decade, the same team that was beaten 7-1 by Germany a year later
    In 2014, when surrounded by Iniesta, Busquets, Alonso, Fabregas and Silva, Xavi was trashed 5-1 to the Netherlands in the World Cup.

    Pirlo was the most dominant midfielder in 2003-07, he not only successfully redefined the role of a deep-lying playmaker by reaching three CL Finals in 5 years and won twice+winning the World Cup with MVP in both semi-final and final). How can you say that a player who has accomplished this much in only five years is not Dominant? I highly doubt your understanding of Soccer if you would even call this is "Pro-Pirlo Revisionism." Player with the talent, vision, technique of Pirlo doesn't need this so-called revision because he speaks with his feet not with his mouth unlike you. Have you even showed even a slightest sense of respect for the player in your words?

    True, Pirlo was surrounded by better players at that time, but it was also because 2003-07 was Pirlo's prime. I have never tried to compare Pirlo and Xavi to say who is better, but I'm very certain that Xavi has not surpassed the level prime Pirlo INDIVIDUALLY. In fact, I highly respect players with Pirlo/Xavi's caliber and for what they have achieved even though I'm not a fan of Xavi.

    It was you first to bash Pirlo with a video of 33year old Pirlo against Bayern Munich in 2012-13 to show how inferior he was. It was you first to point out that Xavi never lost a side as inferior as 2004-05 Liverpool like Pirlo did.

    Please learn to have some respect for the players before even try to discuss them.
  12. Milan05

    Milan05 Member

    Dec 2, 2015
    AC Milan
    It may have escaped your notice, but between 2003 to 2007 Pirlo played alongside AC Milan players that were at least as good as the Barcelona players Xavi played alongside. Shevchenko the 2004 Ballon d'or winner was at least as good as Deco, and Kaka the 2007 Ballon d'or winner was not exactly much worse than Ronaldinho. Both Dinho and Ricky were the best players in the world in their short-lived prime.

    Xavi did not play the "defensive midfielder" role at Barcelona, I have no idea where you got this from. Xavi was the playmaker even during Ronaldinho's era at Barcelona, the defensive midfielder role was taken up by the likes of Edmílson and Van Bommel.

    Pirlo just shined more than Xavi from 2003 to 2007 because he played better. AC Milan's aging 2007 team was not even any better than Barcelona's, yet Milan still won the CL while Barcelona got knocked out by Liverpool.

    In 2006-07, even with an equal or arguably even inferior team, Pirlo outperformed Xavi.

    Why did Xavi deliver as soon as Barcelona entered a golden generation of players with not only Xavi, but also Puyol, Abidal, Pique, Alba, Iniesta, Busquets, and of course Messi? Because the Barcelona team of 2008-12 was better than from 2003-07, obviously. If Barcelona had a prime Messi and a prime Iniesta from 2003 to 2007, Xavi would have suddenly looked like a dominant force again.

    Italian football declined, Pirlo lost motivation, went to Juventus and revived his career.

    Pirlo won 2 Champions League finals just like Xavi did - 2003 and 2007. Pirlo delivered in many big games against Juventus and Inter Milan (back when Italian football was stronger than it is now). Pirlo won the World Cup and is the only player in recent memory to receive MOTM in both the semi final and final of the WC for his performance.

    As for Xavi not losing to a clearly inferior side, you might want to watch the 2012 Champions League semi final again.
    LegendarySunrise and Pipiolo repped this.
  13. leadleader

    leadleader Member+

    Aug 19, 2009
    Arsenal FC
    Shevchenko makes players like Pirlo look better, because Shevchenko scores goal, and therefore doesn't compete against Pirlo in the creation of them. Deco and Ronaldinho were arguably the best two players in the world at their "playmaker" roles, they would've competed against Pirlo, and Pirlo's creative license would've suffered as a result of it.

    As for Kaka, he was one of the playmakers, with Pirlo as the other playmaker... A much better predicament than having Deco and Ronaldinho as the playmakers, and then you (i.e. Xavi) just playing a boring defensive role behind them.

    You mean Barcelona without Messi, with post-injury Villa, with Pedro, with Alexis Sanchex the Barcelona version (i.e. the disappointing and highly inconsistent version of him), with out of form Iniesta?? How was Bayern Munich inferior??

    I'll take Frank Ribery and Artjen Robben in the form (or season) of their lives, rather than out of form Iniesta, Pedro, post-injury Villa, Sanchez (the Barcelona version), and an aged version of Xavi. In contrast, prime Pirlo was beaten by a clearly inferior Liverpool team.
  14. gumbacicc

    gumbacicc Member+

    Dec 7, 2004
    "Pirlo was beaten." :rolleyes:
  15. Milan05

    Milan05 Member

    Dec 2, 2015
    AC Milan
    Deco and Ronaldinho were both attacking midfielders. They were not in competition with Xavi over the deep-lying playmaker role, just like Rui Costa and Kaka were not in direct competition with Pirlo. Xavi's main competition for his spot on the team were Van Bommel and Edmilson.

    I am talking about Chelsea in 2012. You know, the team that finished 6th in the Premier League that season, behind even Newcastle (!). Barcelona had a better team than Chelsea in almost every single area of the pitch, and they completely outplayed them for 180 minutes across both legs, yet they still lost.

    Also, this is a team sport. Pirlo was not "beaten" by Liverpool, Xavi was not beaten by Chelsea. They were not the only players on the pitch that day. Milan lost to Liverpool, Barcelona lost to Chelsea.
    gumbacicc repped this.
  16. leadleader

    leadleader Member+

    Aug 19, 2009
    Arsenal FC
    #291 leadleader, Mar 18, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
    Rui Costa 2003-04 Champions League Apps: did not play the 1st game (Pirlo and Kaka did played); played the 2nd game (Pirlo and Kaka also played); the 3rd game, he was subbed in at the 62nd minute (Kaka was subbed out at the 62nd minute); did not play the 4th game (Pirlo and Kaka played); the 5th game, he was subbed in at the 76th minute (Kaka was subbed out at the 76th minute); the 6th game, he was subbed in at the 46th minute (Kaka was subbed out at the 46th minute); did not play the 7th game (Pirlo and Kaka played); the 8th game, he was subbed in at the 86th minute (i.e. he didn't really play); did not play the 9th game; the 10th game, he was subbed in at the 77th minute (Pirlo was subbed out at the 59th minute).

    Basically, when Rui Costa was "subbed in," Kaka was "subbed out." In other words, AC Milan clearly didn't liked the idea of playing Rui Costa, Pirlo, and Kaka, all at the same time, at least not against their Champions League opponents. That wasn't good for Rui Costa was it?? And please do tell; how many teams since 2003, have played with *three* playmakers??

    Furthermore, Barcelona isn't AC Milan, and it's quite silly how you're using AC Milan's system as something of a universal measure, given the fact that European teams in the past 15 years worth of football have rarely used *three* playmakers. Long story short: Barcelona played with two playmakers (i.e. Deco and Ronaldinho) and with defensive midfielders (i.e. the role Xavi played at the time) -- whatever role Rui Costa played at AC Milan is redundant, given the fact that Barcelona is a different system and a different team. And again, Rui Costa basically didn't played the Champions League in 2003-04, because AC Milan clearly preferred to play with just two playmakers (Pirlo and Kaka, or Pirlo and Rui Costa), rather than three playmakers.

    Deco and Ronaldinho were the playmakers at Barcelona, and Xavi was reduced to a defensive player whose main role was to defend and to feed the ball to the playmakers in front of him. Barcelona didn't employed any deep-lying playmakers, and Xavi couldn't possibly be credited nor discredited for having played a role that didn't even existed as far as the Barcelona system is concerned (that is, at the time).
  17. leadleader

    leadleader Member+

    Aug 19, 2009
    Arsenal FC
    #292 leadleader, Mar 18, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
    The above statement is complete and utter bullshit. Xavi was absolutely not "the playmaker" during Ronaldinho's era.

    The fact is that Xavi wasn't a conventional "defensive midfielder" but he sure as hell was more of a defensive player, than he was "the playmaker." When I said "defensive midfielder" it was an obvious use of hyperbole (i.e. exaggeration), so as to make the point that Xavi's role was to recycle the ball and hold possession so as to create space for the actual playmakers: Deco and Ronaldinho.

    In any case, your argument is laughable.
  18. Milan05

    Milan05 Member

    Dec 2, 2015
    AC Milan
    AC Milan 2004-05 season


    FC Barcelona 2004-05 season


    Let's get something straight here:

    Gattuso = Defensive Midfielder
    Pirlo = Deep Lying Playmaker
    Seedorf = Attacking Playmaker/Box to Box midfielder
    Kaka = Attacking Midfielder

    Edmilson = Defensive Midfielder
    Xavi Hernandez = Deep Lying Playmaker
    Ronaldinho = Winger/Attacking Midfielder
    Deco = Attacking Playmaker

    There is absolutely no contradiction here, just replace Rui Costa in my previous post with Seedorf and the argument remains the same.

    Here are two other formations I found from Barcelona throughout 2005.



    In both of these line-ups, Motta would be doing the majority of defensive work. He'd be better at that than Xavi too. Xavi would be the one proving balls to Ronaldinho.

    The players who played as defensive midfielders for Barcelona throughout the mid-2000's were either Motta, Edmilson, or Van Bommel. Almost never Xavi.
    PrimoCalcio and LegendarySunrise repped this.
  19. PrimoCalcio

    PrimoCalcio Member

    Oct 14, 2019
    Over three years since the last entry in this thread, I will take the opportunity to revive this discussion and reflect once again on the two greatest CMs of a generation.

    To be up-front and transparent, Pirlo is my favourite player. That said, I will try to be objective as possible. I have the greatest respect and admiration for Xavi as a footballer. Playmaking CMs are my favourite trype of players because it is also my position when I'm on the pitch.

    I'll start with saying that I am entirely comfortable with Xavi being considered higher on the all-time lists because of his career achievements. playing in perhaps the best club team and national team of all-time, and his incredible peak between 2008-2012. That, said, all-time lists are one thing, but player to player comparisons are another and Pirlo vs Xavi is a worthwhile discussion.

    I'll run through the arguments that frequently appear in this thread.


    Neither player can be fairly called inconsistent, imo.
    Xavi probably has the right to be called more consistent, especially on a game-to-game basis where he rarely made mistakes of any kind (especially during his peak).

    You could say a poor match for Xavi typically looked more like a safe yet uneventful one lacking in effectiveness, struggling to dominate.

    A poor match for Pirlo typically looked more like losing possession and stray passes, yet still stretching the opposition defense with passes into space and in behind.

    But if we are looking at consistency from the long-term perspective of their whole careers, there is a case for Pirlo.
    I can agree Pirlo had lower lows than Xavi, but he also had more years considered among the best in his position spread throughout his career.


    That Xavi was bench-warmer until Guardiola is a myth - Xavi was always considered a great player and had some world class performances long before 2008. A injury in 2005 meant he was in and out of team for a while and culminated in him missing the 2006 UCL Final (even though he was fit enough and on the bench).

    All this being true, Xavi was never considering among the elite of the elite until 2008-2012, despite him never being average. He never had big dips but he had a clear and obvious peak between 2008-2012.

    Pirlo on the other hand was a star at U21 Euro 2000, scoring both goals in the Final, including a FK to win it late. He was Italy captain, tournament top goalscorer, and crowned best player.
    He struggled to get going in Serie A but once he found his feet in Milan during 2001 there was no doubt he was world class.

    Exactly how many world class seasons he had between 2002-03 and 07-08 is up for debate, but he was no doubt considering among the best in the world in his position during this period, out-performing Xavi.

    In Milan's 2003 UCL Pirlo was not yet the side's lynchpin full-time (he was competing with some of the best players in the world). He did, however, start the majority of games and the Final, giving his contribution.

    Pirlo was heavily involved in Milan 2004 Scudetto season, among the best players in the leauge.

    2005 UCL Pirlo was the center of the the team. He was immaculate in the first half of the Final vs. Liverpool, like the rest of the team, assisting Maldini's opener with a clever free-kick. Using this Final as an argument against Pirlo seems like a petty and flimsy argument. This match was a complete anomaly.

    2006 World Cup Pirlo was arguably the true choice for the Golden Ball.
    1 Goal + 3 Assists, 3 MOTM including both Semi Final and Final, assisting in both.
    Ended up with Bronze Ball and winner's medal.

    2007 UCL Win Pirlo was crucial to his team as always, playing a crucial role in the Final, getting an (somewhat fortunate) assist off of Inzaghi's chest.

    Regarding 09-10 and 10-11, Pirlo's worst seasons and apparent proof of his inconsistency, some context is required.
    Pirlo struggled with fitness in both seasons. In 09-10Leonardo played a ridiculous 424 formation with aging players.
    10-11, Pirlo only managed 17 Serie A appearances due to injury, yet when he did play he contributed in some key moments with assists to Zlatan and a crazy 40m goal against Parma.

    Pirlo was let go due to a policy at Milan. All players over 30 can sign only 1-year extensions. Pirlo felt he deserved better despite his fitness issues, and decided on a change of scenery.

    This leads to Pirlo's 11-12 at Juventus, where he was THE key player in reviving a 7th place team into undefeated champions.

    Euro 2012 Pirlo was arguably the tournaments best player.
    The final vs Spain, Italy were on less rest, decimated by injuries (playing with 10 mean for a significant portion of the 2nd half where Spain scored 3 and 4), and were simply inferior.

    Xavi was immense in the Final, so you can call it a win for him, but I don't think it's very indicative of the two players' relative quality.
    The opening match that ended 1-1 was probably more indicative, in which Pirlo probably came out on top, skipping past Spain's midfield to slide the ball into Di Natale for the opening goal.

    Overall, Pirlo's Euro 2012 > Xavi's Euro 2012.

    To say that Pirlo's renaissance ended with Euro 2012 is simply a denial of the facts. Pirlo was WORLD CLASS in 2012-13, as proven by a 2nd consecutive Serie A player of the season award and 7.82 WhoScored Rating.

    WhoScored Ratings

    2012/2013 Juventus ISA 7.82
    2012/2013 Juventus UCL 7.51
    2012 Italy UEC 7.67
    2011/2012 Juventus ISA 7.88

    2012/2013 Barcelona SLL 7.18
    2012/2013 Barcelona UCL 7.19
    2012 Spain UEC 7.65
    2011/2012 Barcelona SLL 7.41
    2011/2012 Barcelona UCL 7.28

    Pirlo's rating are much higher than Xavi's in both UCL and League play for 12/13. So enough of the nonsense about Pirlo only have 1 world class season at Juve.
    Pirlo arguably even had a third world class season at Juve, winning a third consecutive Serie A POTY award in 13/14.

    2014/2015 Juventus ISA 7.41
    2014/2015 Juventus UCL 6.86
    2013/2014 Juventus ISA 7.56
    2013/2014 Juventus UCL 7.14
    2013/2014 Juventus UEL 7.49
    2014 Italy WC 6.88
    2013 Italy ICC 7.19

    2014/2015 Barcelona SLL 7.11
    2014/2015 Barcelona UCL 6.48
    2013/2014 Barcelona SLL 7.06
    2013/2014 Barcelona UCL 7.05
    2014 Spain WC 6.04
    2013 Spain ICC 7.37

    Again, WhoScored rates Pirlo higher in every single competition except 2013 Confed Cup (which is surprsing because Pirlo was good in that comp., scoring an amazing freekick vs Mexico).

    Average WhoScored Ratings (they start at 09/10)
    Pirlo 7.32 (weighed down by 3 medicore retirement seasons in MLS)
    Xavi 7.32


    Truth be told Xavi's peak between 08-12 was ridiculously high, aided by an amazing team. His peak in this period surpasses any of Pirlo's peaks.

    Pirlo arguably had two peaks, 2003 -2007, and 11/12 -12/13, but the former was his physical prime.
    Pirlo was indeed often overshadowd at Milan by more offensive players, but at WC 2006 his individual brilliance shone.
    The same thing happened for Juventus and Euro 2012.

    Pirlo was more of a protagonist than Xavi in some ways, the team's go-to guy. This is perhaps due to historical circumstance with Xavi being in a team with Leo Messi. But Xavi was often overshadowed by Iniesta for Spain as well (not that Iniesta was necessarily better for Spain, but nonetheless got the media attention).

    It could be argued whether Xavi had the ability to carry lesser teams such as Prandelli's Italy and Conte's Juve like Pirlo did, but we will never know.
    carlito86 and Edhardy repped this.
  20. PrimoCalcio

    PrimoCalcio Member

    Oct 14, 2019
    Overall, I would say:

    Peak: Xavi
    Longevity: Pirlo
    Midfield Control: Xavi
    Pressing: Xavi
    Defense: Pirlo
    Freekick: Pirlo
    Delivery: Pirlo
    Finishing: Xavi
    Long Shots: Pirlo
    Vision: Tied
    Close Control: Xavi
    Ambidexterity: Pirlo
    Engine: Xavi
    Imagination: Pirlo

    Xavi has 2 Euro championships that Pirlo didn't win. Otherwise their bulging trophy cabinets are full of just about everything there is to win.

    Both have mutual admiration of each other. The topic should be discussed respectfully.
    Edhardy repped this.

Share This Page