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I’m back! After reversing decision to retire, Andrea Pirlo called up by Italy

Italy Training & Press Conference - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 11: Andrea Pirlo of Italy faces the media during press conference on June 11, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

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Following Italy’s early exit from the 2014 World Cup, legendary midfielder Andrea Pirlo called it quits...

However when his former boss at Juventus, Antonio Conte, took charge of the Italian national team later this summer, Pirlo declared he would be available for selection again. At the earliest possible opportunity, Conte has called him up.

[RELATED: Balotelli not in Italy squad]

Replacing the injured Giacomo Bonaventura, Pirlo has joined up with the Italian squad ahead of their European Championship qualifiers against Malta and Azerbaijan.

Pirlo, 35, has spent the last month on the sidelines for Juve after suffering a hip injury but played last weekend and Conte has wasted no time in calling the mercurial midfielder into his squad. Italy host Azerbaijan on Friday in Palermo before making the short hop to the island of Malta in the Mediterranean on Sunday.

With his silky skills, incredible range of passing, calmness under pressure and Panenka penalty kicks, seeing Pirlo back in the blue jersey of Italy will be a sight to behold for his adoring fans across the globe as neutrals drool over his talents. His style of play allows him to carry on playing into his late 30’s as his efficient running and tactical nous more than make up for his diminishing physical ability. The former AC Milan star has played 112 times for Italy, scoring 13 goals.

A legend of the game, Pirlo won the World Cup in 2006 and was a key component of Italy reaching the final of the 2012 European Championships. After his recall, Pirlo’s flowing locks and grizzly beard will be around on the international stage for a few more years. Hurrah!

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