Andrea Pirlo at the age of 38 said goodbye to his playing career after his current club New York City FC knocked out of MLS playoffs. Pirlo announcing his retirement tweeted, “The last match in MLS. 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.
“Not only my adventure in New York comes to an end but my journey as a football player as well. Thank you to the amazing supporters, thank you to the coaching staff… and thank you to my team-mates.”
Pirlo was one of the marvels of the midfield during midfield era. There were various names like Steven Gerrard, Zinedine Zidane, Frank Lampard, Xavi Hernandez, Paul Scholes, Michael Ballack and Clarence Seedorf to topple the list, but Pirlo survived longer than his generation.
During his illustrious career, he played for all three of the Serie A giants. He started his playing career as an attacking midfielder at Brescia. He helped Brescia to win Serie B title and earn promotion to Serie A in 1997, but made a move to Inter Milan in 1998.
Inter Milan career didn’t go as planned for the midfield maestro and the master made a move to cross-city rival AC Milan in 2001. He flourished with Milan as Carlo Ancelotti shifted Pirlo in front of the defense as a deep-lying playmaker. His lack of pace was no longer an issue because he got more time on the ball and his vision and passing ability become his weapon. He won two Uefa Champions League titles, two Uefa Super Cup, two Serie A titles, a FIFA Club World Cup title, a Super Coppa Italiana, and a Coppa Italia title with Rossoneri during his decade-long career.
Pirlo made a surprise move to Juventus at the end of 2011 as his contract expired with AC Milan. He was 32 at the moment and very few would have expected him to flourish with Bianconeri. But, his fans knew he wasn’t known for pace, he was known for his vision and long passing which came easily at his disposal in holding midfield role. He brought Juventus back on track who were trophyless since 2003.
Juventus started winning back as they go on winning Serie A title every season since then. Pirlo spent four seasons with the Bianconeri winning Serie A every season, two Super Coppa Italiana titles, and a Coppa Italia. He also made a final appearance in 2014/15 Uefa Champions League final against Barcelona, which Juventus lost to Barcelona.
Pirlo already had spent 20 years playing football in Italy, but his love for the game continues. He joined MLS most expensive side New York FC in 2015 and helped his team to reach the playoffs in subsequent seasons. And after failing to lead his team to playoffs at the end of MLS season in 2017, the 2006 World Cup winner with Italy finally said goodbye to his playing career.
He was named ‘Man of the Match’ three times, including the final, in 2006 FIFA World Cup and earned himself Bronze Ball (Third Best Player of the Tournament). He was also named in the team of the tournament to highlight his career for the national side.