Tuesday January 19th, 2016

NYCFC’s Andrea Pirlo may be the coolest guy in world soccer, which means he’s also the coolest character in MLS. With his arms folded throughout, the Bearded One held court on Tuesday at MLS Media Day. And clearly, after missing the playoffs following his midseason arrival in 2015, he’s optimistic about having a whole preseason and season this time around.

“The difference is fundamental, really crucial, because we’re all starting at the same time: The players, the new coach [Patrick Vieira], so we have the opportunity to really train well, to do everything the right way. Therefore things will be simpler to reach our objective,” Pirlo said through an interpreter.

Pirlo has a history on the playing field with Vieira, both in Italy and on a certain field in Berlin in 2006.

“I do have some very special memories of when I played against him,” Pirlo said, “especially when I won the final of the World Cup against him.” A faint smile creased the corners of Pirlo’s mouth. “That was an extremely important game, but I really think that he’s going to be as good as a coach as he was as a player. We are all ready to help him do his job in the best possible way so that we can have a great advantage together.”

Pirlo said he was very happy he chose to play in MLS, noting that he was pleasantly surprised by the quality of play, but he also added to the words of his countryman Sebastian Giovinco, who said the tactics weren’t on the level of Italy (where tactics reign supreme).

“Giovinco said the right thing,” Pirlo noted. “In fact, we often talk about this when we talk. I think the league can improve, tactically speaking. All teams can improve. And they are already doing it, because this league tends to be very strong physically. If they become strong also tactically, the level would definitely go up.”

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