• Former Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo formally announces retirement
  • 2006 World Cup winner played his final game for New York City on Sunday
  • Pirlo: “Thank you to the fans around the world that always showed me support”

Former Italy international Andrea Pirlo has formally announced his retirement from football. The 2006 FIFA World Cup™ winner played his final game for New York City on Sunday when the club were knocked out of the MLS play-offs by Columbus Crew.

The 38-year-old, who enjoyed a trophy-laden career at club and international level, took to social media on Monday to announce hanging up his boots.

"As my time at NYFC comes to an end, I would like to say a few words. I want to thank everybody for the kindness and support they have shown me in this incredible city," wrote Pirlo, who won 116 caps for Italy.

"Thank you to the amazing supporters, thank you to the coaching staff and everybody that works behind the scenes, thank you to my team-mates.

"Not only [is it that] my adventure in New York comes to an end but my journey as a football player as well.

"I would like to take the opportunity to thank my family and my children for the support and love they have always given me, every team that I had the honour to play for, every team-mate I have been pleased to play alongside, all the people that made my career so incredible.

"Last but not least, all the fans around the world that always showed me support. You will always be on my side and in my heart."

Pirlo began his career at Brescia before moving to leading Serie A clubs such as Inter, AC Milan and Juventus. The midfielder then made a move to Major League Soccer in 2015.

In his illustrious career, which saw him play in three World Cups, Pirlo tasted global glory with Gli Azzurri at Germany 2006, where he was voted Man of the Match in the Final as well as winning the tournament’s Bronze Ball.

Pirlo also enjoyed plenty of success at club level, winning a staggering six Serie A titles. The Italian also won two UEFA Champions League titles with AC Milan, as well as the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup.