NEW YORK – He has met his coaches and teammates, the media and even a few lucky young fans Thursday.
But when will Andrea Pirlo make his debut for New York City FC?
The legendary Italian midfielder and NYCFC coach Jason Kreis were both noncommittal at an introductory press conference when it came to the possibility of Pirlo’s inclusion against Orlando City SC Sunday at Yankee Stadium (2:30 pm ET, FOX Sports 1).
“I do not know. It really depends on how things go day-to-day,” Pirlo said through a translator. “I’ve been on vacation for a month, I did work during that month and I am feeling well, but we’ll see what happens on Sunday.
“The only thing that is left to do is to really get to the right physical condition in order to play at my best,” he added.
After arriving from Italy on Tuesday, Pirlo trained for the first time with his new club on Wednesday. His second session was Thursday morning and Kreis said the team could already see some of the qualities that make Pirlo an icon.
“It’s all of those things you know about an Andrea Pirlo, but to see him on your own training field kind of opens your eyes,” Kreis said. “I think a lot of the players had their eyes opened and felt pretty refreshed he’s on our team.”
Kreis said it was too early to make a decision on Thursday. The final call will be a collective one between Kreis and Pirlo and it will come after his fourth training session with the club on Saturday morning.
“He was quite special today to see him out there. We’ll continue to build him up through the week. It’s a day-over-day process,” Kreis said. “We are not ready to make that decision today and we do not need to make that decision today. By Sunday, I think we’re all hopeful there will be a role for him, but we’ll see.”
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Kreis also acknowledged there will be a bit of a transition period for Pirlo, as would the case with any new player to any new league. However, NYCFC’s style of play should help Pirlo get more comfortable with his new surroundings.
“It’s always been our goal and objective to play a style that would really suit Andrea,” Kreis said. “I can tell you that we haven’t always achieved that goal in all of our games this year, but it has been our directive and objective to play a possession-style game, a dominant game, a game where we’re looking to dictate the tempo of the match.”