Italy legend Andrea Pirlo announces retirement

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The 38-year-old is out of contract at the end of the year and believes the time is right to bring an end to his playing career

Andrea Pirlo has announced he will retire from professional football when his contract at New York City FC expires in December.

The former AC Milan, Juventus and Italy star has won six Serie A titles and two Champions Leagues at club level and played a crucial role as the national team lifted the 2006 World Cup in a successful career.

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However, Pirlo has played just 15 of NYCFC's 32 MLS games this season and, with the 38-year-old out of contract after December 31, he says the time has come to bring an end to his playing days.

"You realise that the time has come," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Every day you have physical problems, you cannot train as you want because you always have some problem.

Andrea Pirlo GFX

"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 team-mates and to the coach."


COULD PIRLO GO TO CONTE'S CHELSEA?


Antonio Conte Andrea Pirlo Juventus

There have been suggestions Pirlo could reunite with former coach Antonio Conte at Chelsea to work as his assistant, but he insists he has not made a decision on what his future hold.

"I'll do something else, I'll be back in Italy in December," he said. "Work with Conte? They say things, I have some ideas, but give me time to decide."


PIRLO'S IMPRESSIVE CAREER


The 116-time Italy international came through the Brescia youth system and spent three years at Inter before joining city rivals AC Milan, where he made 400 apperances over a 10-year spell.

Pirlo won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, where he was man of the match in three of their matches including the memorable final against France.

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He then went on to enjoy a successful spell at Juve, winning the league four times in a row before moving to the United States.

At Euro 2012, the veteran midfielder was instrumental in the Azzurri reaching the final where they lost to Spain.

Pirlo played a pivotal role for NYCFC last season, making 33 appearances as they reached the quarter-finals of the MLS playoffs before having his role cut this term.

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