Andrea Pirlo is in a reflective mood ahead of the Champions League semifinal that will see his Juventus match up against a Real Madrid team coached by Carlo Ancelotti, a prospect Pirlo describes as "like rediscovering your father again."
The 35-year-old playmaker has just won his fourth consecutive Serie A title with Juve, and there aren't many trophies he hasn't lifted. He won the Champions League twice (under Ancelotti) with AC Milan. And he won the 2006 World Cup. So if he were to win the Champions League again, this time with Juventus, Pirlo has told the press he thinks he might declare that achievement his last - in Italian football.
Pirlo reportedly has a year left to run on his contract, but at his age and given his reputation in the game, he's the sort of player a club might be inclined to allow to leave on whatever terms he chooses. Juve doesn't want to be the team that stifled whatever dream Pirlo might have for the final years of his career. Fair to assume, it would seem, that if Pirlo wants to leave Juve, he will be permitted to do so.
Where might he go? Anywhere but Italy, basically:
But in comments ascribed to an interview with AS, he does reveal one specific potential destination:
MLS could be an idea but for the moment, I don’t have anything, Juve are the only thing on my mind.
Pirlo to MLS? It's an intriguing prospect, and he has been linked to the league in the recent past: LA Galaxy allegedly had the insane notion Pirlo might jettison Juve halfway through the current season. Last August, Pirlo was happy to muse publicly on a plan to see out his contract with Juventus and then "maybe, I will move to MLS."
So we've heard this sort of teasing talk from him before. And given that he's suggesting he'd only move if Juve wins the Champions League (the Serie A champion is perhaps the least-favored of the remaining teams in the competition), perhaps this isn't quite the moment to begin speculation about which MLS club would be willing to rebuild itself around one of soccer's greatest creative midfielders.
When that speculation happens, the New York Red Bulls should be a long way down the list. The team failed to figure out what to do with a legendary playmaker - Juninho Pernambucano - back in 2013, and the new playing style (aggressive pressing and harrying for the ball from everyone on the field) does not seem likely to be attractive to a player who has largely built his reputation as the antidote to the high press.
But if Juventus makes an unexpected run past the semifinals of this year's UEFA Champions League, expect this Pirlo-to-MLS chatter to heat up.