Ambrosini talks Pirlo and Calhanoglu comparisons | OneFootball

Ambrosini talks Pirlo and Calhanoglu comparisons | OneFootball

Icon: Football Italia

Football Italia

·6 February 2024

Ambrosini talks Pirlo and Calhanoglu comparisons

Article image:Ambrosini talks Pirlo and Calhanoglu comparisons

Former midfielder Massimo Ambrosini analysed the similarities and differences between Andrea Pirlo and Inter’s Hakan Calhanoglu.

The 29-year-old Turkish midfielder put on a shining performance in the Nerazzurri’s recent Derby d’Italia win over rivals Juventus, a result that could prove crucial in the fight for the Scudetto this season.

OneFootball Videos

Calhanoglu has been a player reborn under Simone Inzaghi at Inter, being one of their key players and an important reference point in midfield. He has already seen almost 2200 minutes of action across 27 matches this season, scoring 11 goals in that time.

Speaking on page three of today’s Gazzetta dello Sport, Ambrosini first discussed Calhanoglu’s impressive long ball for Federico Dimarco in the win over Juventus.

“It’s a great play because it’s functional. If you want to give that ball flat on the ground, it doesn’t come. If you lift it, the defender recovers. The outside of the boot was the best way to pass it.”

He spoke about some of the Turkish midfielder’s qualities.

“Many things. Above all, perhaps, what stands out is the mix between technique and defensive quality, the readiness to reconquer with malice. He’s a very different playmaker from others, the dynamism of Inter’s midfield is very high.”

The former midfielder was asked if there were similarities between Calhanoglu and Pirlo.

“No, there is very little in common between them. The real similarity is in the ability to pass in all ways, to find a man 40 metres away.”

Ambrosini spoke about some of the differences between the pair.

“All comparisons with Andrea are destined to fail. Pirlo had searching for depth as his first thought, also because we had strikers always ready to attack the defence vertically.

“Calhanoglu on the other hand, given how Inter plays, tends more towards short build-up play. Then Hakan covers more of the pitch, when he unloads the ball, he makes a run. And he passes differently, more drily.”

He touched on the market value of Calhanoglu.

“He is at the top in the world. Between him and Rice, I’d take him. Between him and Tchouameni, who is more immature, him. I wouldn’t even know who to choose between him and Rodri…”

The former Milan man discussed the kind of impact Calhanoglu has on the pitch.

“I don’t know him personally, but he seems to me to be a leader in deeds rather than in words. He gets the ball, attacks hard, gives the ball at the right time. When your teammates see these things, they understand that you are there.

“Football today requires you to interpret different situations based on your knowledge. And he, who has been an attacking midfielder and a defensive midfielder, has more knowledge than others, so he makes better choices.”

Finally, Ambrosini was asked how Carlo Ancelotti’s Milan would’ve dealt with Calhanoglu.

“Inzaghi’s variations make Inter dynamic, very difficult to stop. So, I’d say as a team, of course, taking him on as a man wouldn’t work.”

View publisher imprint