Andrea Pirlo decided to quit Juventus before the Italian Serie A champions could push him out.
The 36-year-old midfielder won four Italian titles in his four years in Turin but opted to leave the Bianconeri and join the new Major League Soccer franchise New York City FC this summer. And Pirlo has now admitted he was worried his long-established role as Juve’s playmaker would be prised away from him due to his advancing years.
“The idea of no longer being guaranteed that protagonist’s role really weighed upon me,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “Maybe I would have stopped feeling as comfortable within myself. So I preferred to make this choice for myself rather than leave it for others to send me away.”
The former AC Milan player confessed his mind was made up shortly after the Champions League final in Berlin, which Juve lost to Barcelona, causing two-time winner Pirlo to break down in tears. He added:
“I’d been thinking about it for a couple of months.
“And losing that game certainly made me reflect on things even more. Certain matches are so important and it would be difficult for me to ever play in them again. So after winning four titles it was the right time for me to leave.”
Pirlo has started training alongside new team-mates David Villa and Frank Lampard in New York and could make his debut against fellow expansion side Orlando City on Sunday, who will have former AC Milan star Kaka in their line-up.