Andrea Pirlo

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WATCH: Manchester City target Sandro Tonali scores wonder free-kick

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Brescia’s sensation Sandro Tonali’s stunning free-kick goal should be on the big screen at the next Gran Gala del Calcio.

The Italian midfielder might be only 19, but his goal deserves to be on an infinite loop – the pace, bend and accuracy is, simply, a masterpiece.

Tonali, who recently made his senior debut with Italy against Liechtenstein in a Euro 2020 qualifier, has been referred to as the new Andrea Pirlo – who also started his career with Brescia – for his similar qualities as a regista.

Brescia owner Massimo Cellino recently stated that Tonali, who has been garnering heavy interest from Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, among other important European clubs, is worth $332 million and not the $55 million that the young midfielder’s parents and agent have told the Italian owner.

“His agent and his parents were telling me about this €50million evaluation,” Cellino said. “I replied that for me he is worth €300million, which means I don’t want to sell.”

“I have a dream,” he added. “If Sandro accepts, I am ready to make a big financial sacrifice to extend his contract. It’s up to him to decide. He can stay here and enjoy his football or go to a big club and risk being left on the bench.”

Money aside, Tonali sure possesses unteachable free-kick skills.

Report: Conte, Pirlo could spearhead Italy managerial team

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Various nations are still mourning their failure of missing out on the 2018 World Cup, but arguably none bigger than powerhouse Italy.

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The Azzurri, who lost to Sweden in a UEFA playoff series in 2017, will not take part in soccer’s most-prestigious competition in Russia for the first time since 1958.

Former manager Gian Piero Ventura has received heavy criticism for the nation’s failure, and stepped down from his role as head coach immediately after Italy’s dismissal from World Cup qualifying.

A familiar face could now be in line to replace Ventura though, as Football Italia reports that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could make a return to the Azzurri.

Conte remains under contract at Stamford Bridge, however, Chelsea’s dip in form this season after winning the title in 2016/17 has many speculating that the Italian won’t survive to coach the Blues next year.

Meanwhile, Italian legend Andrea Pirlo has also expressed his interest in joining the technical staff if Conte is appointed.

The two have a close history together from their days with the national team and at Juventus.

In addition to Conte, Carlo Ancelotti is reportedly being considered for the job as well, and Pirlo is believed to be willing to join the managerial staff is the former Bayern Munich coach is hired.

Villa: Seeing Pirlo retire showed me that I have to train harder

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New York City FC has quickly become one of Major League Soccer’s most exciting clubs in three short seasons, and a lot of its success can be attributed to be David Villa.

[ MORE: Miguel Almiron named MLS Newcomer of the Year ]

The Spanish international has been with the club since completing a move to MLS in 2014, and has easily been NYCFC’s most important signing since the team’s inception.

Despite boasting an impressive 22 goals in 2017 for Patrick Vieira’s side, Villa knows that his days in MLS are starting to count down after one of the legends of the international game recently announced his retirement.

“[Seeing Andrea Pirlo retire showed me] that I have to train harder every day if I want to continue extending my career. Someday I will leave, as will everyone, it’s a fact of life. But I’m going to fight to make it as late as possible,” Villa told Marca.

Villa, 35, received a one-year extension to his contract in 2017, leaving his future with NYCFC up in the air beyond next season.

Additionally, the forward says that he constantly receives positive feedback about MLS and he knows that there is a lot of interest from players outside the United States in the developing league.

“Really, quite a few [have reached out],” he said. “The MLS is growing a lot and is having more and more global impact. Many have called me and are interested in what’s going on here.”

Andrea Pirlo confirms retirement from NYCFC, playing career

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No party: Andrea Pirlo is calling it a day at New York City FC.

We’ve known this for a while, but Pirlo officially called time on MLS tenure on Monday.

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NYCFC’s comeback attempt fell just short on Sunday when it failed to convert a third goal in a 2-0 second leg win over Columbus (The Crew won the first leg 4-1).

Pirlo issued this statement early Monday, confirming that his retirement from MLS is also his retirement from the playing field.

He’ll go down as a man capable of playing as beautiful a ball as any in soccer history.

Report: Andrea Pirlo to retire at end of the season

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Enjoy it while it lasts.

According to a report from Italian sports publication Gazzetta Dello Sport, New York City FC midfielder Andrea Pirlo will retire at the end of the current season, with his contract expiring in December.

In an interview with Gazzetta, Pirlo lamented that he has no more cartilage in one of his knees and even had Juventus’ doctor look at it during his former club’s tour of the U.S., to no avail. Injuries have kept Pirlo off the field for much of the season, relegating him to a bench role.

[MORE: Protect Pulisic, please. Yanks bemoan fouls, lack of cards.]

“You just realize that the time has come,” Pirlo reportedly said. “Every day you have physical problems, you can not train as you would because you always have some stuff (wrong). At my age, that’s enough. It’s not that you can go on forever to 50. I’ll do something else.”

NYCFC made a big splash in July 2015 when they signed the legendary Italian midfielder from Juventus on a free transfer, but while the 36-year-old has had some brilliant moments in MLS, he also was part of some NYCFC lowlights, especially on the defensive end.

That being said, he currently has one goal and 18 assists in his MLS career through 60 games, with 58 starts.

When asked about what he’d like to do in the future, Pirlo deflected a suggestion that he could become an assistant coach for Antonio Conte at Chelsea this winter, though he didn’t rule out coaching entirely.

“I do not know yet,” Pirlo said. “I’ll be back in Italy already in December. Conte’s assistant? They say things. I have ideas, but give me time to decide.
If Pirlo does enter the coaching ranks, there’s a couple of directions he could go. Former teammates Filippo “Pippo” Inzaghi coached AC Milan for a year in just his second year of coaching, and is currently at Venezia, while Alessandro Nesta has opted for a lower level, starting his managerial career coaching Miami FC in the North American Soccer League.
“There is no right or wrong way,” Pirlo said. “It depends on the opportunities that you offer. If you coach a first team right away, it’s hard to refuse. I repeat: for now I do not have that intention. After 25 years of football I will be at home with my family (two twins were born in August ). To keep fit I will play golf (handicap 10) and tennis.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a story on American soccer without a question on bringing promotion/relegation to the American pyramid. And if he hadn’t said it already, now we know Pirlo is a fan of promotion/relegation.
“Absolutely agree,” Pirlo said. “If there was more pressure to avoid losing and falling back than to win, quality would rise. If MLS does not change the rules by liberalizing the market, there will never be a team like Real Madrid. “