New York City FC are the hottest team in the Eastern Conference, with four wins from their last five league games, and they're about to get a world-class boost as they make a push for the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Andrea Pirlo is coming to New York City FC.
The expansion club announced on Monday that Pirlo, a 2006 World Cup champion for Italy and winner of the last three Serie A Player of the Year awards, has signed a deal to become New York City FC's next Designated Player, just weeks after starting the UEFA Champions League final with Juventus.
Per league and club policy, specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"I have been wanting this experience for a long time, and now that the opportnity materialized, I wanted to take it," Pirlo said in a club statement. "This is a club on the rise that shares my same hunger to achieve important results in the league."
The 36-year-old Pirlo, a master passer and set-piece taker, joins David Villa and Frank Lampard as Designated Players for New York City FC, who are just three points out of a playoff spot in the East after their 2-1 win in Montreal on Saturday night.
"We have said from the outset that the right player for the third DP slot was worth waiting for," New York City FC head coach Jason Kreis said in a club statement. "Nobody could question that in Pirlo, we are bringing one of the best in the world and one of the finest players to come to MLS. Like David Villa, his final game in MLS was the Champions League final, which demonstrates a player competing at the highest level of our sport."
For Italy, the 36-year-old Pirlo has competed in three World Cups, winning the Bronze Ball in 2006 as the tournament's third-best player when Italy edged France on penalty kicks for the title. He has also featured at three European Championships (finishing second in 2012) and two Olympic Games (winning the bronze medal in 2004), and he remains an active part of the Italian squad under his former Juventus coach Antonio Conte.
Long known for his exploits with AC Milan over 10 seasons, including two UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup title, Pirlo moved to Juventus in 2011. In Turin, he continued to excel, leading Juventus to the last four Serie A titles, the most recent Coppa Italia and the final of this year's UEFA Champions League against FC Barcelona.