New York City FC announced on Monday morning that they have signed World Cup and UEFA Champions League winner Andrea Pirlo. He will become the team’s third Designated Player and arrives to New York City FC on a free transfer from Juventus, who were 2015 UEFA Champions League Finalists. Juventus also won Italy’s Serie A the past four seasons.
Pirlo joins the Club on July 21 and will be available for selection immediately following that. Their first game after that date is on Sunday, July 26th against Orlando City, which features Brazilian star Kaka.
Pirlo teams up with NYC FC’s other Designated Players: David Villa, a who won a World Cup with Spain and UEFA Champions League winner with Barcelona, and Frank Lampard, who won the 2012 UEFA Champions League with Chelsea. This trio has dominated European soccer for the past decade and it will be remarkable to watch them play together. Lampard is making his debut this Sunday against Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium.
In an exclusive interview with NYCFC.com, Pirlo said: “I have been wanting this experience for a long time and now that the opportunity materialized I wanted to take it. This is a Club on the rise and shares my same hunger to achieve important results in the League. I am hoping to win.”
“I had several opportunities to play outside of Italy, but I never had a doubt in picking New York for the enthusiasm of the people that come watch the team.”
“I met with the coach, Jason Kreis, and he gave me a fantastic impression of the Club. He has well defined ideas in mind, and I am sure we will get on well and create a good relationship to train well and try to win together.”
Pirlo has spent his entire professional career in Italy and is renowned for his incredible passing range and set piece ability. In nearly 700 matches at club level he has won two Champions League titles, 2002-2003 and 2006-07, with AC Milan, and has won the Italian Serie A title six times, including the past four seasons with Juventus.
Juventus reached the UEFA Champions League Final this past season. Even though they lost to Barcelona on June 6th, the fact that Juventus got there was an amazing achievement. They outlasted Christiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid in the semifinals to get there, preventing what everyone thought would be the second straight all-Spanish final. Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid in 2014.
Pirlo has 115 caps (games played) for Italy, with 13 goals, and was part of the 2006 World Cup-winning squad. He most recently played in Italy’s 1-0 international friendly against Portugal in Geneva on June 16.
NYC FC Head Coach Jason Kreis said to NYCFC.com, “We have said from the outset that the right player for the third DP slot was worth waiting for. 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 Europe was the Champions League Final, which demonstrates a player competing at the highest level of our sport.
“We are getting a player with a competitive spirit and a winning mentality. He’s not only won a World Cup, he was the Serie A Player of the Year in three of the last four seasons,” said Kreis.
New York City FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said, “In Andrea Pirlo we are getting one of the most recognized and influential players in world soccer. We are building something incredibly special in New York; with a blend of exciting and experienced players who are known all over the world and with some fantastic young talent, who will only benefit from being around individuals like Andrea, David Villa and Frank Lampard. The greatest privilege of all will be to watch this team play in front of our incredible fans at Yankee Stadium.”
Pirlo will be officially added to New York City FC roster upon receipt of his P1 visa and ITC.
This move is good for business, as there are a lot of Italian soccer fans in New York City, especially in the Dyker Heights/Bensonhurst area of Brooklyn, where they had parades on 18th Avenue when Italy won the World Cup in 2006. New York City FC has over 17,000 “founding members,” and the team is releasing 1,500 new Season tickets locations to see Andrea Pirlo and New York City FC’s inaugural season in MLS.
Some fans in the left-field bleachers could be heard chanting “No Pirlo, No Party” at a recent game. With Pirlo aboard, the party will certainly be on at Yankee Stadium.
Andrea Pirlo by the Numbers:
Birthday: May 19, 1979
Height: 5’9 (1.77m)
Weight: 150 lbs (68kg)
Place of birth: Flero, Italy
Inter Milan: 1998-01
- Loan to Reggina: Sept. 1999
- Loan to Brescia: Jan. 2000
AC Milan: 2001-11
UEFA European U-21 Championship: 2000 (top goalscorer with 3; team captain; named tournament’s Golden Player)
Coppa Italia: 2002-03
Champions League: 2002-2003, 2006-07
European Super Cup: 2003
Olympics bronze medal: Athens 2004
Italian Championship: 2003-04, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15
World Cup: 2006
European Super Cup: 2007
FIFA Club World Cup: 2007
Serie A Player of the Year: 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14
Serie A Team of the Season: 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14
Italian Super Cup: 2012, 2013
Italian Cup: 2014-15
- Made his Serie A debut as a 16-year-old with Brescia during the 1994-95 campaign.
- Played in 20 Serie A matches (19 starts) for Juventus during 2014-15 season with 4 goals (all from outside the box) on 8 shots on target. Added 5 assists.
- 10 starts in Champions League in 2014-15 (1 goal)
- 2 starts in Coppa Italia in 2014-15
- 1 start in Supercoppa Italiana in 2014-15
- Most recently played in Italy’s 1-0 international friendly against Portugal in Geneva on June 16.
- Made his international debut for Italy against Azerbaijan on Sept. 7, 2002
- Has 115 Caps for Italy with 13 goals.