With Serie A champions Juventus set to face Singapore Selection at the brand new National Stadium in 5 days, FourFourTwo continues to pick the starting XI we'd like to see take the field from both squads.
But here's the twist. Instead of posting our predicted lineups all at one go, Jeremy Lim and Dominic Neo will reveal one member of the team each day, as we count down the number of sleeps till the big match.
Without further ado, we present FourFourTwo Picks: The Playmakers.
Pirlo keeps Juventus ticking over
Position: Deep-lying Midfielder
Team: Juventus FC
It's easy to see why Juventus fans have dubbed Andrea Pirlo ‘Mozart’. The deep-lying playmaker’s ability to create and orchestrate beautiful play have earned him that moniker. His midfield artistry, even at the age of 35, appears almost effortless every time. Pirlo doesn’t run; he waltzes through a match, letting the ball do the work for him.
Since joining the Old Lady on a free transfer from Milan in 2011, the former Rossoneri icon has laid aside all links to his old team and inspired his new employers to success after success. Pirlo served as the catalyst of Juventus’ revival, almost single-handedly thrusting the Turin outfit to her recent soaring heights. Player and club won the Serie A title in their first season together — in the time since, two more league and Italian Super Cup trophies have followed.
The Bianconeri have played to the beat of their composer’s feet in all their recent triumphs. Even if there is less romance in Pirlo’s time with the club compared to Gianluigi Buffon or ex-captain Alessandro Del Piero, it’s already difficult to imagine Juventus without her factory of ideas on the pitch. Thankfully, with the mercurial midfielder’s staying power at the top level just as impressive, the club can look forward to a few more years of dedicated service at the very least.
Shahril is the real deal for Singapore
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Team: Singapore Selection
Club: Johor Darul Takzim 2
How many footballers, nay, people, can claim to have a Crown Prince travel to your country to offer you a job? It takes an extraordinary talent to warrant such privileged attention. Shahril Ishak, the most capped player in the current Singapore national team with 118 caps, deserves such an honour.
The Singapore Selection captain has shone for both club and country since breaking onto the scene in 2004. The 2013 ASEAN Footballer of the Year played integral roles in Singapore’s AFC victories in 2005, 2007. And 2012. He also led the LionsXII team to the Malaysia Super League title in 2013.
The playmaker is able to play in any midfield position, but is most effective as a number 10, slotting in the hole behind the striker. Sharil is a technically sound, two-footed player — his first touch, awareness, composure, passing and movement are excellent. He is also a clinical finisher — the Johor Darul Takzim 2 player has scored 105 goals in 305 club games, an impressive return for a midfielder.
Most importantly, the Singapore captain is a leader and a big game player who can always be counted on to lead the line and guide the younger players. This will be vital if the Singapore Selection are to avoid getting overawed when Juventus line up against them on Saturday evening.
FourFourTwo will be at the Singapore Sports Hub on August 16 to watch the Singapore Selection take on Juventus FC. Will Pirlo or Shahril steal the show? You'll only find out if you join us there! Tickets to the match - priced from S$45 to S$180 for adults and S$30 to S$45 for children – are still available at Sports Hub Tix (www.sportshubtix.sg).
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