Andrea Pirlo will go down in history not only as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, but as a footballing genius.
The 38-year-old announced his retirement on Monday, putting an end to an extraordinary career.
The Italian legend came to prominence during his time at AC Milan, where he won two Serie A titles and two Champions Leagues whilst at the club.
After a 10 year spell with the club, Pirlo then moved on to Juventus, where he added four more Serie A titles, before leaving to New York City where he saw out the rest of his playing career.
He also accumulated 116 caps for Italy, and played an integral role as they lifted the World Cup in 2006.
PIRLO ANNOUNCES HS RETIREMENT
Pirlo announced on his Twitter page that he was retiring from football, where he not only thanked New York, but he also thanked every team he played for and every teammate he played alongside.
Pirlo wrote: "Not only [is it that] my adventure in New York comes to an end but my journey as a football player as well.
"I would like to take the opportunity to thank my family and my children for the support and love they always give me, every team that I had the honour of playing for, every teammate I have been pleased to play alongside, all the people that made my career such incredible and last but not least, all the fans around the world that always showed me support.
You can read his whole statement here:
GARY LINEKER PAYS TRIBUTE
Gary Lineker took to Twitter to pay tribute to the legendary Italian, and he did so with a beautiful tweet.
The Englishman wrote: "Andrea Pirlo has announced his retirement from football. One of the great midfielders of his generation. A beautiful footballer. #peerless"
A tweet that perfectly sums up the career of a truly extraordinary player.
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