Andrea Pirlo has announced his retirement from football after playing his final game for New York City FC on Sunday.
The Italian brings to an end a glittering career which included 116 international caps, a World Cup win in 2006 and two Champions League winner’s medals.
The 38-year-old retires after three seasons in the United States but it was in his homeland where he enjoyed his greatest success, winning six Serie A titles - two with AC Milan, four with Juventus.
"Last match in MLS,” Pirlo wrote on Twitter on Monday. “As my time in NYFC comes to an end I would to say 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 work behind the scene, thank you to my teammates.
"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 always give me, every team that I had the honor to play 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 will always be on my side and in my heart."
It doesn’t get much classier than that.
Gerrard has reacted on Instagram
Football fans have been paying tribute to the midfield maestro, who will go down as one of the finest players of his generation.
And they’ve been joined by Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
Gerrard played against Pirlo in that incredible Champions League final in 2005 and Lampard was a teammate of the Italian’s at New York City FC.
Both have reacted to Pirlo’s retirement with lovely Instagram posts.
Congratulations on a fantastic career @andreapirlo21 👏🏻 a world class player who made the game look easy . Thank you for all the special moments and good luck 🙌👌🏻#pirlo,” Gerrard wrote.
Lampard posted a photo of himself and Pirlo both wearing vests, saying: “As the Maestro retires, now is a good time to share one of my favourite moments of us together 😂😂..
"All jokes aside, a CLASS player and a CLASS man. It was a pleasure to play with and against you @andreapirlo21. Good luck in whatever the future holds.”
It’s clear just how much Pirlo’s peers respected him.
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