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Pirlo ready for New York move: report

Andrea Pirlo's move to Major League Soccer is imminent, according to reports in Italy that claim the Juventus and Italy star will sign an 18-month deal with New York City FC.

Pirlo ready for New York move: report
Andrea Pirlo poses with the Italian League's trophy following the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Napoli on May 23Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Midfield legend Pirlo was a linchpin for the Turin giants on their way to a first league and Cup double in 20 years last season.

But reports in La Gazzetta dello Sport insist the 36-year-old former World Cup winner will leave Italy behind and end his career in the United States.

Pirlo, whose contract expires in June 2016, was distraught at the final whistle of last month's Champions League final when Juventus were beaten 3-1 by Barcelona.

That may have represented Pirlo's last chance to add a third Champions League winner's medal to his collection having triumphed with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007.

Gazzetta's report said Pirlo will sign an 18-month contract in August with Jason Kreis's side after deciding whether to include a clause that would allow him to opt out of another year, if he desired.

Former Juventus teammate Sebastian Giovinco quit the Bianconeri during last season to sign for Toronto FC, who meet New York City FC in an Eastern Conference clash on July 12th.

In an interview on Thursday with Gazzetta, Giovinco insisted the MLS was “not as easy as many people might think” and admitted Pirlo had enquired about his experience with the Canadian side.

“I talked to him via message, but not from New York. Some time ago he called to ask me how I was getting along,” said Giovinco.

“I told him it was a great experience, something he should try. But I don't think it's me who will convince him.

“I hope to get the chance to play against him here.”

Speculation on Pirlo's reported move has intensified in recent days during the Italian's holiday in New York where he has been photographed taking 'selfies' with soccer fans.

Pirlo was also photographed at Yankee Stadium — the home of baseball side New York Yankees and the home venue of New York City FC — last weekend in the company of Ferran Soriano, a Chief Executive Officer of Manchester City and New York City.

After the disappointment of last month's Champions League final defeat, Soriano is reported to have convinced Pirlo to quit Juventus immediately instead of opting to leave the club in January.

With Chilean Arturo Vidal, Frenchman Paul Pogba and Italian Claudio Marchisio all playing alongside Pirlo at Juventus, the Turin club arguably boast one of the strongest midfields in European football.

Juventus have boosted that with the addition of German international Sami Khedira, and coach Massimiliano Allegri recently said he was confident he could keep Pogba, a target for several top clubs, for another season.

FOOTBALL

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players’ ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome

Italy’s national football team reportedly insisted on taking an open-top bus tour through Rome to show off their European Championship trophy to crowds of fans - despite city authorities forbidding it amid concern about the spread of coronavirus.

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players' ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome
Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The team’s bus parade through the city on Monday night following their Euro 2020 triumph “was not authorised”, according to Matteo Piantedosi the head of Rome’s prefettura (the public safety authority).

Thousands of fans packed the streets of central Rome to see the team celebrate their cup win after beating England on penalties in the final.

READ ALSO: ‘Football came home’: Italy celebrates Euro 2020 victory over England

Piantedosi told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Wednesday: “We had denied permission to celebrate Italy’s victory in the European Championships on the open bus, but the pact was not respected.”

Piantedosi, who is Rome’s top public security official, said police had “no choice” but to let the parade go ahead after players Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci insisted on it.

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

A meeting had been held on Friday with the Italian football federation (FIGC) to discuss plans for the celebrations if Italy won, said Piantedosi.

“I had agreed the line with Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and Chief of Police Lamberto Giannini,” he said.

“It was clearly explained that [the parade] was not possible. We said we could not authorize it.”

Piantedosi said the Italian football federation (FIGC) initially agreed to hold a “controlled” ceremony in Rome’s central Piazza del Popolo instead of the parade.

After players insisted on the bus tour on Monday however, Piantedosi said, authorities reluctantly let them go ahead due to fears of sparking public disorder.

“At that point we had no choice but to acknowledge the situation and handle it in the best way we could,” he said.

READ ALSO: Covid cases on the rise in Europe once again as WHO warns of Euro 2020 risk

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

In a statement on Wednesday, the FIGC said it had acted responsibly but decided not to disappoint fans who had come to celebrate with the team.

Footage of large crowds thronging the bus carrying the ‘Azzurri’ and the European Championship trophy through the capital however fuelled concerns about new outbreaks of coronavirus, after Italy’s infection rate began to rise again last week.

The World Health Organization warned earlier this month that crowds and gatherings connected to football matches will fuel a new rise in cases across Europe this summer.

READ ALSO: Delta variant in Italy will be ‘prevalent within 10 days’: health official

Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza also voiced concerns on Monday about the consequences of people gathering to watch sporting events.

He said the European football championship win was “a great joy after terrible months,” but “even in these moments of national pride we can’t forget that our ‘game’ to defeat Covid is not yet won.”

There are currently minimal health restrictions in place across Italy, however masks are supposed to be worn in crowded public places, including outdoors.

“Footage shows that police were virtually the only ones [in the crowd] wearing masks,” said Piantedosi.

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