Italy legend Andrea Pirlo expresses interest in MLS coaching

Could Andrea Pirlo coach in Major League Soccer one day?

The Italy legend and former New York City FC midfielder isn’t ruling it out.

“It’s a great league. I see lots of coaches coming to MLS from other countries. I was lucky enough to play there,” he told The Athletic's James Horncastle. “You saw what the USMNT did in the Gold Cup, so I’d say the American game is taking off. Lots of Americans are now playing for the best clubs in the world – Juve, Barcelona, Chelsea. If they’re playing at that level, it speaks to their potential.”

Pirlo spent the 2020-21 season coaching Juventus, where he won Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana titles while leading a squad that included FC Dallas academy product and USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie. He then departed last May, with I Bianconeri since bringing in Massimiliano Allegri to lead the way.

Pirlo's no stranger to MLS, of course, helping steer in NYCFC's time as an expansion club. He spent three seasons playing for the Cityzens, recording one goal and 18 assists across 60 regular-season appearances from 2015-17.

Pirlo, who most notably played for AC Milan and Juventus, still keeps an eye on the league.

“I watch all the teams. I love New York – I had a place there before I moved stateside – but I like everything about MLS. I really enjoyed my time there,” the 2006 FIFA World Cup winner said. “I got on well with the club, my teammates, the staff and the coaches I had. It was a great life experience, a great football experience too. Two of my kids were born in America, so it’s something we’ll always carry with us. It’s like home to them, a part of our lives. They’re American.”

Pirlo became the second member of NYCFC’s inaugural squad to enter the coaching ranks, following Frank Lampard, who coached Derby County and Chelsea. Another NYCFC connection is former head coach Patrick Vieira, who's now leading Premier League side Crystal Palace after time with Ligue 1 side OGC Nice.

Considering his professed love for New York, NYCFC would be a possible future destination, but the club are in the capable hands of Ronny Deila. The Norwegian manager has the Cityzens unbeaten in their last six and second in the Eastern Conference standings.

For more from Pirlo, check out The Athletic's story here.