After making a brief cameo appearance in New York City's MLS Play-off aggregate defeat on Sunday night, Italian legend Andrea Pirlo has officially announced his retirement from football. As my time in NYFC comes to an end I would like to say a few words.
Click through the gallery to see other worldwide star who retired this year.
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Pirlo's illustrious career didn't stop at domestic level as he won the FIFA World Cup with Italy in 2006 and was an integral part of the team that lost to Spain in the final of the EURO 2012 competition in an worldwide career that saw him amass 116 caps.
Pirlo's statement also included a note of thanks for "every team that I had the honour to play for" and "every team-mate that I have been pleased to play alongside".
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After leading Italy to the World Cup final, Pirlo famously scored his penalty on Italy's way to be crowned World Champions. He started 32 of 34 games in his first full season in the league in 2016 but played just 15 games in 2017 and registered only two assists. Making his long-awaited USA debut in 2015, Pirlo, along with Barcelona legend David Villa helped Patrick Viera's side reach the MLS play-off's in each of the past two seasons. He struggled for appearances there before returning to Brescia on loan. He helped redefine the deep-lying playmaker role on Carlo Ancelotti's watch during his days with Milan and later for Antonio Conte's Juventus. Pirlo was used regularly in a deeper role and became the set-piece expert modern fans knew and loved. Winning two Seria A titles and the Champions League in 2003 and 2007. It's not that you can go on forever until the age of 50.
In each of his four seasons at Juventus he won the Serie A title as they established a new period of dominance in Italian football. Pirlo wrote a new chapter in his story, making the move to Italian giants Juventus.
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