Gennaro Gattuso has jokingly revealed that playing alongside the legendary Andrea Pirlo made him want to 'change profession.'
Gattuso spoke to Italian radio station Radio 24 (h/t Corriere dello Sport) about his former AC Milan teammate, who announced that he was retiring from professional football once his New York City contracts expires in December.
The 38-year-old seemed set to call time on his glittering career earlier this season, but made it official on his Twitter account on Monday.
Pirlo will go down as one of the virtuoso midfielders in the history of football, and Gattuso dismissed suggestions that his own work on the pitch made his former colleague look better than he was on at club and international level.
Gattuso remarked: “Don’t talk nonsense, let’s not confuse Nutella with s**t. When I saw him play it made me think I had to change profession!
"Nobody knows that better than me, because I started playing with him at Italy Under-15 level and then all the youth teams after that.
“It wasn’t only about his quality, but he was an animal covering 1000 metres, he had this athletic quality which is why he played until this age . He was someone who ran so much."
As Gattuso alluded to, the ex-defensive midfielder featured alongside Pirlo for over two decades, and the pair struck up a lifelong friendship on and off the field judging by comments the Milan youth coach made.
He continued: “I played with him for about 20 years when you consider the national youth teams, in difficult moments I just gave it to him, I always felt assured when I was next to him.
“I understood what I had to do, and he was taking care of the rest. He helped me much more in my career than I did him.
“In the dressing room? He’s a big son of a… with all due respect to his mother! He teased me for months, he was very funny. I punched him more times than Bud Spencer did Terrence Hill!”