Midfield maestro, Andrea Pirlo has announced he is retiring from football after playing his last game for New York City.
The 38-year-old won 116 caps for Italy and helped them win the 2006 World Cup.
Pirlo began his career at Brescia and also played for Inter, AC Milan and Juventus before joining the Major League Soccer side two years ago.
“Not only [is it that] my adventure in New York comes to an end but my journey as a football player as well,” he said.
In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Pirlo also thanked “every team that I had the honour to play for” and “every team-mate that I have been pleased to play alongside”.
Former club Juventus described him as a “true genius”.
And New York City manager Patrick Vieira said Pirlo “changed football forever”.
As well as helping the Azzurri become world champions, Pirlo also won many domestic honours during his 22-year career.
He was part of a Milan side who won two Serie A titles, two Champions Leagues and a Club World Cup between 2003 and 2011, then was instrumental in Juventus winning four successive Scudettos between 2012 and 2015.
The Italian moved to New York ahead of the 2015 MLS season, joining former England midfielder Frank Lampard and Spain striker David Villa at the Manchester City-owned franchise.
He has helped Patrick Vieira’s side reach the MLS play-offs in each of the past two seasons, but was unable to end his career with any further trophies.
Pirlo had indicated in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport in October that he was preparing for retirement, and confirmed that decision with his statement.
“Everyone at New York City FC would like to congratulate Andrea on an incredible career and to thank him for his excellent contribution to NYCFC over the past two and a half years.” the club said.
Former Arsenal and France midfielder Vieira, who has been Pirlo’s manager at New York City for the last two years, said: “He’s one of the best holding midfielders ever – he changed the position of the number six.
“Before, the role was just tackling and winning the ball, but now you have to be a playmaker, you have to be as good as your number 10 with the ball.
“He had a fantastic career, not just on the field but off it because he’s a true gentleman. He’s a really good guy.”