Tuesday November 15 2016
Pirlo: ‘I’ll stay in football’

Andrea Pirlo confirms “I’ll stay involved in football” when he leaves New York City FC, and reflects on his time at Inter.

The regista has spent the past two seasons playing in MLS after leaving Juventus, but it’s not clear if the 37-year-old will play another season in America.

“After a 20-year career at the highest level, you feel the need to get away from that and have fun playing football, but with less stress,” Pirlo told Marca Plus of his decision to move to Major League Soccer.

“It was all planned. Once I reached an insurmountable level of stress, when mentally I’d have felt stuck, I had the clarity of thought to say ‘enough’.

“That moment came after the Champions League final with Barcelona.

“When I leave NYCFC? I think I’ll stay involved in football, because it’s the only thing I know how to do. Football is my life, so I’d like to be a director or something like that.”

Pirlo also discussed his career in Italy, starting with his local side, Brescia, and moving to Inter, the club he supported as a child.

“Roberto Baggio? He was my idol. For a young lad it’s a dream to play with your idol and I managed to make that happen.

“From the moment I knew I had the chance of training with him I was impatient. I couldn’t wait.

“Inter? I arrived at a difficult time for the club, which had such a big turnover of players and Coaches in those days.

“They were my favourite team though, and to be able to play there was a dream. For me, it was the greatest.

“It was the first time I’d left home, but it wasn’t traumatic because Milan is still quite close to Brescia. I was away from the family, but an hour’s drive isn’t such a big deal.

“I was 18 and I was ready to have that experience. Unfortunately though I couldn’t find consistency and I preferred to leave.”

Not only did Pirlo leave, he signed for city rivals Milan…

“These things happen. It happened with me and it happened with others too, it’s nothing special. Inter had no confidence in me and I wanted to try something new at Milan.

“I knew that I was going to a club full of champions, and I slowly managed to find space. I was convinced of my ability and what I could offer on the pitch. I just needed a chance to show it.

“How did Carlo Ancelotti convince me to play deeper? When I played forward my style of play wasn’t to score goals, but to help the team play football.

“I wasn’t selfish and only thinking about scoring, I preferred to help my teammates do it. For me the key thing was to get the ball and be at the centre of the play.

“Before they [Italians clubs] preferred a more defensive player, with the task of winning the ball and not building the play.

“We tried to do something different and it went well. From then on others changed their style of play.

“Ancelotti is a great person and an amazing Coach. It’s a pleasure to talk to him. He’s like one of the family and that’s what all the players want.”

The veteran also discussed the 2005 Champions League final, when Milan blew a 3-0 lead to lose on penalties to Liverpool.

“I remember at half-time we didn’t talk very much,” Pirlo recalled.

“When you’re winning 3-0 all you can do is to say that you need to remain focused. We had chances to score more goals, then we conceded three to Liverpool in seven mintues.

“It was a unique game, and unfortunately it happened to me. It was, without a doubt, the hardest defeat of my career.”

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