Andrea Pirlo's appointment as the head coach of Juventus is a surprise, says Renzo Ulivieri - but the Italian Football Managers' Association chairman believes that the former midfielder could thrive in his new job, hailing him as a "profound connoisseur" of football.
The former Italy international was handed the top job in Turin just nine days after he was handed the reins of the club's under-23 setup, replacing Maurizo Sarri in the wake of the Bianconeri's Champions League exit against Lyon on Friday.
The eye-catching decision to promote the 41-year-old - who has never coached at senior level before - caught many unawares, particularly given that Ulivieri says that Pirlo has yet to obtain his full accreditation from the Centro Tecnico Federale di Coverciano, the Italian Football Federation's technical centre.
Speaking out on Juve chairman Andrea Agnelli's choice, onetime Bologna and Napoli boss Ulivieri pushed back at the suggestion that the decision was a particularly risky one, hailing the World Cup winner as a "scholar" of the game, suggesting that his insights will stand him and his employers in good stead.
“Was Agnelli more courageous or reckless [in his decision]?" he told Calcio Mercato . "I'd say it was realistic.
"I'm sure in saying that Andrea Pirlo is currently one of the most profound connoisseurs of the game of football in the world.
"I'm talking about technical knowledge, as a coach. I'm not referring to those skills acquired on the pitch, as a footballer.
"Those are another thing and offer no guarantee of success [as a coach]. Pirlo is a scholar, one who has deepened his knowledge of the subject. He is ready."
Asked on the situation in regards to Pirlo's coaching license and how he has applied himself as a student, Ulivieri added: "He has permission to coach because he attended and completed the course, but he will only make it official in October when he delivers his thesis.
“[He is] careful, sharp. He is someone who looks ahead. He is always precise, someone who doesn't put everything down on paper. He will listen to everything and think, then write on the paper only the things he considers important."
Pirlo now faces a six-week wait to take charge of Juve for the first time in a competitive game following the club's European exit, with the new Serie A campaign set to begin on September 19.