Italian great Andrea Pirlo says it’s not his reputation that will help raise interest in Major League Soccer but his performance on the pitch with new club New York City FC.
“I haven’t come here to go on retirement,” the 36-year-old Italian World Cup-winner said as he met the press in New York this week.
“I came here because I want to play and I want to win. The first objective is always that of winning.”
Just how soon Pirlo will get his chance to start winning with NYCFC remains to be seen.
After just a couple of training sessions with his new team-mates, both he and NYCFC coach Jason Kreis said it was too soon to say whether he would make his debut on Sunday, when NYCFC host MLS’s other new franchise, Orlando City, at Yankee Stadium.
“I’ve been on vacation for a month,” he said. “I did work during that month and I am feeling well, but we’ll see what happens on Sunday.”
In joining NYCFC, Pirlo will be teaming up with Spain striker David Villa and ex-Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard — who could also make his MLS debut Sunday after seeing his first outing delayed by injury.
“By Sunday I think we’re all hopeful there will be a role for him, but we’ll see,” Kreis said.
Pirlo said he knows that part of his job in the United States is to raise the profile of football, but he believes he can best do that with his contributions on the field.
“I’ve never been throughout my career the kind of guy who always appears on the cover of magazines,” he said.
“Of course I want to help MLS to grow, but my major responsibility is to play and to play well.”