Andrea Pirlo has formally announced his retirement from professional football after a trophy-laden 22-year career.
The former Italy international, 38, played his final match on Sunday as New York City FC were knocked out of the MLS Cup play-offs by the Columbus Crew.
City needed to overturn a 4-1 deficit from the first leg but, despite a 2-0 victory at Yankee Stadium, their post-season involvement came to an end, and with it Pirlo’s career.
The former AC Milan and Juventus playmaker revealed earlier this year he was planning to retire at the end of the MLS season, and on Monday he published a farewell message through his Twitter account.
It read: “Last match in MLS. As my time in NYFC comes to an end I would like to say a few words. I want to thank everybody for the kindness and support they have shown me in this incredible city.
“Thank you to the amazing supporters, thank you to the coaching staff, and everybody that works behind the scenes, thank you to my team-mates.
“Not only my adventure in NY comes to an end but my journey as a football player as well.
“That is why I would like to take the opportunity to thank my family and my children for the support and love they have always given me, every team that I had the honour to play for, every team-mate 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.”
Pirlo joined New York City FC in July 2015 as one of the most decorated and respected players in global football.
He helped Juve win four successive Serie A titles after joining them in 2011, having previously spent a decade at Milan, with whom he claimed a host of trophies, including winning two Champions Leagues, Serie A twice, the Coppa Italia and the FIFA Club World Cup.
He also collected 116 caps for Italy and was a member of their 2006 World Cup-winning squad before retiring from international football in 2015.
New York City FC wrote in a statement: “Everyone at New York City FC would like to congratulate Andrea on an incredible career and to thank him for his excellent contribution to NYCFC over the past two and a half years.”
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