Andrea Pirlo - New York City FC - April 8, 2017
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Andrea Pirlo announces he'll retire at end of 2017 MLS season

Andrea Pirlo announced on Sunday that he will retire from professional soccer when New York City FC’s season ends.

Pirlo, 38, joined NYCFC midway through their expansion season in 2015. The legendary former AC Milan, Juventus and Italy midfielder has one goal and 18 assists in 60 regular season appearances with NYCFC. He was a regular starter during his first two seasons in the Bronx, but has been relegated to spot starter duty under Patrick Vieira this season.

One of the most artistic and accomplished players of his era, Pirlo won six Serie A titles, a pair of UEFA Champions League crowns and the 2006 World Cup.

“You realize that the time has come,” Pirlo told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Every day you have physical problems, you cannot train as you want because you always have some problem. At my age, that’s enough. It’s not that you can go on forever until the age of 50. I’ll do something else. At 38, it’s just right to give young players room. I’m not angry. Instead, I will give a hand to teammates and to the coach.”

Pirlo began his professional career in 1994 with Italian club Brescia. He had a brief at Inter Milan from 1998-2001, before moving crosstown to AC Milan. He made his name with the Rossoneri, winning two Serie A titles and both of his Champions League titles with the club.

He moved to Juventus in 2011 after a decade with Milan, launching a wildly successful run in which he won four-consecutive Serie A titles and made another appearance in the Champions League final.  

Pirlo made 116 career appearances with the Italian national team, the fourth-most in the history of the country. He was instrumental in their run to the 2006 World Cup title, winning Man of the Match honors a tournament-high three times, including in the final. He also led Italy to the final of UEFA Euro 2012 and represented the country at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups and 2004 and 2008 European Championships.

Pirlo and NYCFC are currently in second in the East and have already clinched their spot in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs. The club play next at New England next Sunday before closing the season at home against Columbus on Oct. 22.