Farewell: Italy Legend Andrea Pirlo Announces Retirement

38-year-old Italian legend Andrea Pirlo is out of contract at the end of the year and believe the time is right to draw the cotton on his playing career.

The retired Italian international has announced he will retire from professional football when his contract at New York City FC expires in December.

The ex-AC Milan, Juventus and Italy star has won six Serie A titles and two Champions League at club level and played a crucial role as Italy lifted the 2006 World Cup against France in a successful career.

However, Pirlo has played just 15 of NYCFC’s 32 MLS games this season and, with Pirlo out of contract after December 31, the Italian says the time has come to bring an end to his playing days.

“You realise that the time has come,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport via Goal. “Every day you have physical problems, you cannot train as you want because you always have some problem.

“At my age, that’s enough. It’s not that you can go on forever until the age of 50. I’ll do something else.

“At 38, it’s just right to give young players room. I’m not angry. Instead, I will give a hand to team-mates and to the coach.”

Prior to his retirement, there have been rumours Pirlo could reunite with former boss Antonio Conte at Chelsea to work as his assistant, but he insists he has not made a decision on what his future hold.

“I’ll do something else, I’ll be back in Italy in December,” he said. “Work with Conte? They say things, I have some ideas, but give me time to decide.”

The 116-time Italy man came through the Brescia youth system and played three years at Inter before joining city rivals AC Milan, where he made 400 appearances over a 10-year spell.

He won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, where he was man of the match in three of their matches including the memorable final against France.

Pirlo then went on to enjoy a brilliant time at Juventus, winning the league four times in a row before he moved to the United States.

At Euro 2012, the veteran midfielder was superb in the Azzurri reaching the final where they lost to Spain.

Andrea Pirlo played a pivotal role for NYCFC last season, making 33 appearances as they reached the quarter-finals of the MLS playoffs before having his role cut this term.

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Donald Stephen is a freelance football writer who knows only slightly less about football than you do. A regular contributor to Football Weeks, the Set Pieces, and others. You can connect with us on - Facebook and Twitter