6 top midfielders who switched to lesser leagues in the twilight of their careers
#4 Andrea Pirlo (New York City FC)
Upon leaving Juventus, Andrea Pirlo joined Frank Lampard at NYCFC as a 'Designated Player' on a contract reportedly worth $8 million. He made his MLS debut against Orlando City as a substitute, coming on in the 56th Minute and assisting his teams 3rd and 4th goals in a 5-3 win.
In his next game against DC United, he assisted David Villa’s goal in a 3-1 win. However, the team finished outside the qualification places for the MLS Cup. He assisted 5 goals but didn’t score in the entire season.
Pirlo started the 2016 season strongly, assisting David Villa’s winner in a match against the Vancouver Whitecaps. He scored a free kick against the Philadelphia Union, his first goal in the United States. He finished the season with 1 goal and 11 assists. NYCFC reached the 2016 Eastern Conference semi-finals only to lose 7-0 over the course of the two legs.
Persistent injuries restricted Pirlo to just 2 assists in 15 appearances, the last of which came as a substitute against Columbus Crew in the second leg of 2017 Eastern Conference semi-finals. NYCFC won the match 2-0 but lost the tie 3-4. Pirlo announced his retirement from the game the very next day.
Pirlo was approached by Australian side Avondale FC as a short-term marquee signing. However, Pirlo’s management confirmed that l'architetto (the Architect) won’t be joining the club as he had set his sights on management having completed his coaching badges.Published 22 Sep 2018, 18:22 IST