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.
“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. “
Video: Luis Suárez’s goal was probably better than Andrea Pirlo’s
I unloaded with both barrels on the goal from the first game – Andrea Pirlo’s Pirloean strike that opened the scoring at the Confederations Cup between Italy and Mexico. That wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t included this line:
And [he does] something almost nobody else could do.
Sorry, Past Richard, but Luis Suárez topped it. Given the final score, this 88th minute goal goal didn’t matter, but when you consider distance and placement, the Uruguayan’s strike is the better of the two.
Suárez’s try was still around 26 yards from the byline, but it was noticeably wider of the keeper’s near post. And although Pirlo’s ball snuck in just under the crossbar, Suárez’s end up in the left side netting.
Which placement is better? I don’t know, but give me enough time, and I can put one under the bar. I’m not sure I can ever curl a ball like that into the side netting.
And given the time Iker Casillas had to react, Suárez’s may have been the only shot that would have scored from that spot. We probably couldn’t say the same for Pirlo, who did have a some space between the left post and where he placed the ball.
At some point, though, this is all angels and pinheads. Both strikes are worthy of the players’ highlight reels. Still, if Suárez’s had happened before Pirlo’s, would there be much of a debate?
Andrea Pirlo’s Confederations Cup goal belongs in some kind of textbook
I have no idea what goes into a life that leads to that point, but if I can be Andrea Pirlo long enough to stand over a ball 26 yards out, calmly trot up and open my foot onto a shot that flies just under the crossbar, I’m ready to start now. If you guarantee me I can be like Andrea Pirlo, I’ll drop everything I don’t care now many mornings of black coffee and hand-rolled cigarettes it takes, I want to live this moment.
As far as big picture soccer things are concerned, it wasn’t a historic. That’s what makes this all the more poignant. This is just another day in the life of Andre Pirlo. Another day where you just happen to be playing in Brazil, against a confederation champion, for your national team in front of a five-digit crowd in a prelude to next year’s World Cup. And you do something almost nobody else could do. No big deal.
Of course, Mexico’s not going to be as sanguine. A spirited start saw El Tri go off the crossbar early, but as they dejectedly slammed the ball back into their own net after Pirlo’s strike, you could see the helplessness. Is there anything more frightening than being shown something’s unstoppable?
Pirlo’s kick may not be perfect, but with the position of the ball and the wall, could he have gotten any more of that corner? Seems a shame to even ask. After all, could really ask more of this kick?