Thursday, November 9, 2017
On Monday, Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo formally announced his retirement from football. A 2006 FIFA World Cup winner with Italy, Pirlo had announced his intentions to end the 22-year-career last month, and his final professional game ended in a 2–0 win for New York City FC (NYCFC) against Columbus Crew in Major League Soccer play-offs at Yankee Stadium.
“As my time in NYC FC comes to an end, I want to thank everybody for the kindness and support they have shown me in this incredible city”, 38-year-old Pirlo wrote on Twitter. Last month, the Italian told La Gazzetta dello Sport “You realise yourself that the time has come. Each day, you have physical problems and you can’t train as you would like to. At my age, it’s fine to say enough is enough.” ((it))Italian language: ?Ti rendi conto da solo che è arrivato il momento. Ogni giorno hai problemi fisici, non riesci più ad allenarti come vorresti perché hai sempre qualche acciacco. Alla mia età ci sta di dire basta.
Pirlo spent 20 years playing in Italy, making his professional debut for Brescia Calcio before moving to Internazionale in 1998. Three years later, in 2001, he made a switch to Inter’s local rivals, AC Milan. Pirlo spent a decade with Milan, and won two Serie A titles, and two UEFA Champions League titles — in 2003 and in 2007, just a year after Pirlo won the World Cup in Germany with Azzurri defeating France.
His contract with Milan expired in 2011, and then 32-year-old Pirlo moved to Turin and joined Juventus. He won four consecutive Serie A titles with the Old Lady. He was close to winning a third UEFA Champions League gold medal in 2015, but Juventus lost 3–1 against FC Barcelona in the final.
Having won six Italian league titles, two Champions League and Coppa Italia as well as a World Cup with the national team, Pirlo moved to Yankee Stadium in July 2015. Pirlo was substituted in during the 90th minute in his last match for NYCFC, losing 4–3 on aggregate in the MLS play-offs. NYCFC’s manager Patrick Vieira said, “He [Pirlo] had a fantastic career, not just on the field but off it because he’s a true gentleman. He’s a really good guy.”