AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has admitted that Andrea Pirlo is having a superb season, but defended his club’s decision to allow the elegant midfielder to join Juventus last summer. The 32-year-old quit I Rossneri, whom he joined from Inter Milan for €18m in 2001, by mutual consent following ten years’ service.

Juve finished seventh in Serie A in 2010/11, a massive 24 points behind champions Milan. However, with Pirlo thriving, Antonio Conte’s men currently lead the Scudetto race, a point above Allegri’s team.

“Pirlo is a champion and is having a great season, but the split was a mutual decision and was good for us economically,” said the 44-year-old, who assumed the Milan reins in June 2010. “It’s true that you need champions to succeed, but some teams continue to win after selling them."

Pirlo is a champion and is having a great season, but the split was a mutual decision and was good for us economically.

Massimiliano Allegri

Milan beat Cagliari 3-0 at home yesterday thanks to goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Antonio Nocerino and Massimo Ambrosini. The result moved them five points clear of third-placed Udinese, who lost 2-1 to Juventus on Saturday, and eight above Inter, whose surprising 1-0 defeat at Lecce dropped them to fifth, behind Lazio.

“We put on a good performance, even though we struggled to break them down until Zlatan scored,” said Allegri. “After that it became much easier.

“It was crucial for us to win, because we’ve managed to pull away a bit. We’re still in touch with Juve and have put distance between ourselves and our closest rivals, as both Udinese and Inter lost."

Juventus are away to Parma tomorrow, while Milan will commence an examining month the following day at Lazio. I Rossoneri then face Napoli, Udiense and Cesena, before hosting Juve on 26 February.

Juventus have won a record 27 Serie A titles, with Milan and Inter on 18 apiece. No other team has entered double figures on the Scudetti count.

Legendary Players
Click this Classic Players link to read about the superb careers of former AC Milan and Juventus players Giuseppe Meazza, Gunnar Nordahl, Dino Zoff, Paolo Rossi, Michel Platini, Zbigniew Boniek, Michael Laudrup, Franco Baresi, Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten, Roberto Baggio, George Weah and Zinedine Zidane.