Reaction to Andrea Pirlo’s retirement shows how greats can cross the divide

Sport is a tribal thing, and that means crossing divides is hard. But some players are so great that crossing that line happens automatically.

Even rivals have to come together sometimes to mark the career of a true great. And when Andrea Pirlo retired this week, that’s exactly what happened. The great man was wished a happy retirement by those you’d expect to be kind to him, but whilst Juventus celebrated the career of a club legend, so too did AC Milan, the club Pirlo left in order to join their mortal rivals from Turin.

And yet even Milan paid their tribute, such is the level of greatness that the iconic Italian playmaker attained in his career at both clubs.

Social media has allowed this sort of thing to take off properly, and it allows everyone in the world to join in and pay their respects and tributes or share their thanks. But what’s impressive when it comes to the reaction to Pirlo’s retirement is that the hashtag #GrazieMaestro, started by his last club New York City FC, was used to widely.

As hashtags go, this was a good one. It seemed to capture what everyone thought: Pirlo is indeed a maestro, but a garish hashtag would have been an insult to the elegance of the man and the way he played. But it’s interesting how it all comes together on occasions like this when one player crosses divides and earns the respect of everyone, and there’s a hashtag there to collate many of the tributes into one tab.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 431 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and a regular contributor to Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan91

You might also like

Leyton Orient to make history by streaming FA Trophy quarter final outside the UK

Only the FA Trophy final has been streamed outside of the UK before, but Leyton Orient are about to change that.

What we learned about VR and AR at Digital Sport Manchester #2

At our latest Digital Sport Manchester event at Salford University, AR and VR was on the agenda – here’s what we learned.

What other sports can learn from Table Tennis about how to approach China

Ahead of the ITTF World Team Cup taking place in the Copperbox Arena in London, Dan McLaren chatted table tennis and strategies for Chinese growth with Matt Pound, Head of Communications at ITTF.