Juventus put Pirlo talks on hold

BY foxsports • September 26, 2013

Juventus general director Giuseppe Marotta says discussions over a new deal for Andrea Pirlo are likely to take place in February or March.

Veteran midfielder Pirlo has played a key role in helping Juve claim back-to-back Serie A titles since his arrival at the club on a free transfer in 2011 following a decade with AC Milan. However, he will be out of contract at the end of the season, by which time Pirlo will be 35, and there has been speculation about his future beyond next summer. Pirlo has previously stressed that he would like to remain at Juve, and the club are in no hurry to sort out an extension until early 2014.

"Pirlo's contract? We have talked together and it's quiet," Marotta told Tuttosport. "We have decided to continue negotiations in February or March."

Reports this week have suggested that a number of Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham, are monitoring Pirlo's situation.  The 34-year-old midfielder suggested earlier this season that he's eager to sign a contract extension with defending Serie A champions, but hinted that he would only prolong his stay if he feels valued by the Turin club.

On Tuesday, Juventus coach Antonio Conte has warned his players that they must remain on the bench after being substituted or face a month's suspension. Conte says ''unless a player goes off on a stretcher or because of an injury ... he must remain on the bench until the end of the match. If not he'll be fined and be out of the squad for a month.''

Conte says the new rule applies to everyone without exception but that Pirlo will not face punishment as this has just come into effect and so the playmaker ''has not broken any rules.''

Pirlo was substituted in the 66th minute of Sunday's 2-1 victory over Hellas Verona and walked straight off down the tunnel, bypassing the bench.

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