Andrea Pirlo is loving life in New York City.
Since moving to the Big Apple last summer to join MLS side New York City FC, the Italian World Cup winner and fashion icon has enjoyed living in relative anonymity in the American metropolis.
‘Just being able to go out to dinner at the trendiest restaurants — in Italy, I can’t do that,’’ Pirlo told The New York Times.
Accustomed to dealing with frantic crowds and police escorts on a daily basis, the 36-year-old has been able to explore his new home as a true New Yorker: on foot. It's a simple luxury that comes in big contrast to the all-encompassing security detail that was a regular part of life while playing for the biggest clubs in Italy.
‘‘There were times we were kept in our dressing room until late at night because it wasn’t safe to go home,’’ he said. ‘‘Our bus would get attacked, the tires slit.’’
Now able to freely move around mostly unrecognized in the biggest city in the U.S., Pirlo said that he had considered a move to MLS when his contract at Juventus was coming to an end last year. He admitted that the move stateside came about sooner than he had envisioned.
‘I always wanted to come here to play,’’ Pirlo said of the transfer to NYCFC that made him among the highest paid players in North America, ‘‘but I never thought it would be so soon.’’
With the 2016 MLS campaign — his first full season — just days away, Pirlo isn't ruling out an extension of his deal past the original end date of 2017.
‘I don’t rule out the idea of staying here,’’ he said. ‘‘That could be something interesting.’’
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