According to published reports, Andrea Pirlo—the 36-year-old Italian midfielder who helped Juventus win the cup and league title this season, before losing the Champions League Title to FC Barcelona—is heading to the “Big Apple,” where he will soon join the ranks of the NYCFC.
Pirlo has started in 19 of his 20 games this season, scoring four goals and five assists in his 1,611 minutes of action. He has been playing in Italy’s Serie A since he was 16-years-old, which has left some fans wondering why he would want to make the move abroad?
While there is still a year remaining on his contract with Juventus, The Daily News reports that the addition of Pirlo is “inevitable,” adding to NYCFC’s already stacked roster, which includes David Villa and Frank Lampard, giving the club “one of the most expensive rosters in league history.”
Apart from setting a MLS record, the addition of Pirlo makes him the third European draftee over-30. Many fans of the MLS expansion team say Pirlo welcome addition, however, some remain skeptical in the veteran midfielder’s abilities.
Despite having scored a modest number of goals, Pirlo is a precision player known for his long and short passes—a skill that has helped him to rip through an opponent’s defense time and again. During the 2014-2015 season, Pirlo created 44 offensive opportunities for Juventus, proving himself not only a force to be reckoned with offensively, but defensively as well.
Although the seasoned footballer does not bring the same type of speed and stamina that fans hoping for a younger, more agile defender, wanted to see; Pirlo will surely be an asset to the team’s back line, having won 71 percent of his 31 tackles this season. Not to mention, the 30 interceptions and 12 clearances he also made.
Pirlo has received numerous accolades during his 20-year career as a professional athlete, including the high honor of being named “Man of the Match” for his performance in the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals against France. He also won four Serie A titles with Juve and two with AC Milan. He also played a pivotal role in winning the 2003 and 2007 Champions League titles for Milan.
If Pirlo signs with NYCFC, the Daily News reports that his salary may be about the same as Villa’s or Lampard’s, “or between $5-$6 million per year.” He also would not be eligible to play until the summer transfer window closes on July 8, 2015.