With Andrea Pirlo in hand, New York City is set to have a party. The club announced yesterday they were signing the legendary Italian midfielder to a contract rumoured to be the highest-paying in Major League Soccer: around $8 million a year.
In an interview conducted by the club, Pirlo discusses why he decided to come to the United States, and what he expects during the next step of his glittering career.
Pirlo joins Frank Lampard and David Villa as the team's third designated player. The three players playing for New York City make up probably the most glittering assemblage of talent seen in a North American team since the heyday of the New York Cosmos in the 1970s. The difference between the two, though, is that Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia were arguably in their prime as players, unlike Pirlo and Lampard.
Still, the addition of Pirlo and Lampard instantly upgrades New York City's midfield. It gives head coach Jason Kreis a far more potent and fluid lineup. One of New York City's biggest issues is their lack of scoring punch. That's recently improved over the last few games, but if the Blues aim to make the playoffs, they need to win games, not just draw them. Having Pirlo and Lampard to help out with the scoring burden, as well with ball distribution, only helps.
Finally, there's the locker-room impact. With young players like Khiry Shelton, Kwadwo Poku, and Tommy McNamara on their roster, New York City could stand to use an infusion of veteran leadership. It's hard to do better than Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard. The former, especially, is noted for having changed the atmosphere around Juventus in his time there, infusing the team with a championship personality. The hope is that he can do the same for New York City.