Andrea Pirlo’s playing days could be over very soon.
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The New York City FC midfielder, 37, is contracted to Major League Soccer through the end of th 2017 season.
However reports in the UK claim that Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, Pirlo’s former manager at both Juventus and the Italian national team, wants the bearded midfield genius to come in as his assistant manager for next season.
In an interview with former assistant manager and midfielder Ray Wilkins on talkSPORT in the UK, he claims that Pirlo is Conte’s preferred choice to replace outgoing assistant Steve Holland who will join England’s national team on a full-time basis at the end of this season.
“I know for a fact he has been around Stamford Bridge on a number of occasions this year,” Wilkins said. “He’s the one that Antonio Conte would like. He managed him at Juventus until he was 34. He is the one he will want to come in [to replace Holland].”
Pirlo has already been spotted at Chelsea’s training ground since Conte took over and it would seem to make a lot of sense, at least on the surface, that the Italian coach would want someone who knows him well alongside him.
Holland leaving is a big blow for Conte as the long-time Chelsea assistant wanted to move into his assistant coaching role with England on a full-time role now but decided to stay with the Blues until the end of this season.
With Chelsea currently seven points clear heading into the final weeks of the PL season, Conte seems to already be preparing for next season.
Pirlo has had a steady time in MLS since arriving in New York with his abilities from set pieces and in a deep-lying playmaker role still there but sometimes he has overlooked his defensive responsibilities. Incidents like this suggest so.
That said, the main issue here is that Pirlo would have to leave midway through the 2017 MLS campaign if he was going to be Conte’s new assistant. That would be a big blow for Patrick Vieira’s NYCFC and MLS with plenty of fans across the league still flocking to watch Pirlo in action wherever he goes.
The legendary Italian midfielder would bring a wealth of experience to Conte’s staff and, crucially, he knows exactly what his former boss wants from his players.