Andrea Pirlo is inching ever closer to making his move to the United States and New York City a reality. He's about to go from playing at one of Europe's best stadiums to one that seats 50,000 and is meant for baseball and that's about it.
Yes, Pirlo and Major League Soccer are about to be one of the same, according to a report from ESPNFC on Saturday night. It is the latest step in what media both state-side and in Italy have been saying ever since the Champions League final that has the legendary Italian midfielder departing his homeland this summer and heading to the Big Apple.
The MLS expansion franchise plan to annouce the deal on either Wednesday or Thursday, the source said.
Pirlo, 36, will sign an 18-month contract with NYCFC, taking him through the 2016 season, with an additional option for 2017, according to the source.
The midfielder will being training with the team on July 21 and be eligible to make his debut on July 26 when NYCFC hosts fellow expansion side Orlando City at Yankee Stadium.
Of course, Pirlo's quote after the loss to Barcelona in Berlin where he said "Were my tears a goodbye to Juventus? No, they were for the defeat." takes on a little bit of a different meaning than before all of this stuff about him moving to MLS started picking up serious momentum. Pirlo — whose contract with Juventus is due to expire next summer as the European championship gets underway — would be the third big-time yet aging Designated Player, joining former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard and Spanish striker David Villa.
The move to the U.S. will end what has been a fantastic and trophy-filled four-year stint with Juventus for Pirlo, who arrived on a free transfer after Milan somehow decided he was past it. Four years filled with trophies, victories over some of the best in Europe, another chance to win the Champions League and plenty of passes over the top of the defense to a darting-forward Stephan Lichtsteiner.
They were good times, without a doubt. But now they are inching toward officially being over. And, in turn, Pirlo will be heading to Yankee Stadium instead of Juventus Stadium for his home games. That will definitely be a change of pace.