Andrea Pirlo Contemplates Staying With NYCFC

Sep 16, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC midfielder Frank Lampard (8) and New York City FC midfielder Andrea Pirlo (21) celebrate Lampard
Sep 16, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC midfielder Frank Lampard (8) and New York City FC midfielder Andrea Pirlo (21) celebrate Lampard /

Pirlo talks about personal safety playing in Italy versus welcomed anonymity in the United States

In July, Andrea Pirlo moved to the United States from Juventus to join the MLS where he would be playing on the same team as Frank Lampard in New York City despite still having a year left on his contract to play for Turin. With his contract ending in December of 2017 and a pretty great first year in the MLS, I’m sure fans, teammates, and coaches alike were pleased to hear that Pirlo isn’t “ruling out” playing for the MLS for much longer.

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Despite playing in 13 games during the 2015 MLS season, starting in 12 of those games, and playing for a total of 1074 minutes, Italy’s coach Antonio Conte did not call up Pirlo for the international friendlies between Belgium and Romania late in 2015. Conte made statements suggesting that Pirlo may not be a member of the Italian National Team much long- or at all.

Conte also made statements to hint at the fact that Pirlo was not receiving quality training in the United States, but he would consider calling him up again if he moved back to Italy. In recent interviews, however, Pirlo has expressed a much different path for himself that doesn’t necessarily agree with Conte’s plans or moving back to Italy any time soon.

The 36-year-old midfielder confessed in an interview earlier this week with Jeff Oloizia of The New York Times that he prefers the anonymity in the United States compared to his home in Italy. Italy is known for having quite a physical style of playing soccer as it is, but Pirlo admits that the die-hard soccer fans in his home country are truly what makes playing soccer in Italy more of a fright than playing for the MLS.

According to Pirlo, one of the biggest luxuries he has received in playing for New York City FC has been a simple luxury at that: being able to just go out and eat at some of the “trendiest” restaurants without being recognized or attacked- essentially being able to go eat a meal in public at a hot topic place without having to fear for his own safety in the comfort (or, well, discomfort) of the city that he lives in. In Italy, Pirlo says, players sometimes had to stay in their locker rooms after matches until late into the night because it simply “wasn’t safe to go home.”

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I’m sure the sense of pride that comes with playing for your country is no match to any amount of pride you can get playing for anyone else and Pirlo admits that he always saw himself playing soccer in the United States though he imagined it would be much later in his career. However, I’m sure the sense of safety can easily far outweigh that sense of pride.

Personally, I wouldn’t blame Pirlo if he decided to finish his career staying in the MLS- not just because I love to watch him play, either. I’d much rather enjoy a night out on the town during my days off or after matches without the fear of being attacked, cursed at, spat at, or even much worse. It will certainly be interesting to see what the future holds for Pirlo whether it’s in the MLS or back in Italy.