‘He spoke with his feet’: tributes pour in as midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo hangs up his boots
The 38-year-old Italian legend calls it a day following New York City FC’s elimination from the Major League Soccer play-offs
Tributes poured in for Andrea Pirlo after Italy’s midfield maestro retired, the 38-year-old passing wizard having played his final match on Sunday when New York City FC lost in the Major League Soccer play-offs.
Pirlo went on in the 90th minute and was greeted with affection by fans at Yankee Stadium.
While Pirlo played his final seasons in the United States, he made his name by helping AC Milan and Juventus win a combined six Serie A titles, two Champions Leagues for Milan and, above all, the 2006 World Cup for Italy.
“He spoke with his feet,” Marcello Lippi, Italy’s coach at the 2006 World Cup, said on Monday.
A free kick specialist, Pirlo also mesmerised the opposition and audiences alike with his superb ball control.
“Whoever has played with Andrea can understand the word ‘unique’,” Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon, who also played with Pirlo at Juventus, wrote on Instagram.
“A champion who comprised class, elegance and humility.”
Recently retired Roma captain Francesco Totti, another teammate from the 2006 Italy side, tweeted, “It was an honour to play with you and against you, a champion with immense class.”
Pirlo posted a statement on Twitter thanking his family and every team he “had the honour to play for, every teammate I have been pleased to play alongside, all the people that made my career so incredible.
“And last but not least, all the fans around the world that always showed me support. You will always be on my side and in my heart.”