Villa, Pirlo Unsure if 2017 Will Be Their Final Season

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

It is not clear whether 2017 will be the final year David Villa and Andrea Pirlo play competitive soccer.

Speaking at New York City FC’s media day in Manhattan on Thursday, Villa and Pirlo each said he was unsure whether he would on retire after the end of the Major League Soccer season. Each player is in his final year under contract with the club. Pirlo, 37, had reportedly been linked to a return to Juventus as a club ambassador. He said he was still considering that opportunity.

“We started well and we had a good game but for me it doesn’t change because I don’t know if it will be my last season,” Pirlo said. “I think about playing and playing well for the club. When it will be the time, I will decide for the future.”

Pirlo spoke in English and without a translator for the first time. He said that he would think about whether extending his career after the season concludes. Villa said he’s been thinking about extending his stay at NYCFC and has spoken with the club about a new contract in the past few months.

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

“It’s the same,” Villa said. “In soccer, you never what happens in a day or two days. It’s difficult to plan anything because everything changes from the night to the morning. So I only think about playing well and staying strong and for me to be good this year. I told your mates in the press conference, we are in the talks to extend the contract but I don’t care if it’s for one year or two years more. We don’t know what will happen in the future so my mind is working day-by-day and being strong. It doesn’t matter if the contract is for winter, 2017, 2018, it doesn’t matter.”

Villa did not address an ESPN report that a top team in La Liga had south to sign Villa over the winter. The two stars joked that they are still young even though they are amongst the 10 oldest field players in MLS.

“The age doesn’t matter, it’s what you do on the pitch,” Villa said. “The way we played last year, Andrea and I stayed fit so that is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter what the age of the squad is, we need to play well. Last year was good for us in the regular season but we didn’t do well in the playoffs so we start the focus of this season set on playing better than last year and do better than last year.”

David Villa NYCFC All Smiles Red Bull Victory 1Villa was able to play almost 2,900 minutes for NYCFC last year en route to winning the league’s Most Valuable Player award. In two seasons, he has only missed four games to injury. Pirlo started 32 of the team’s 34 regular-season games last season but was limited to 74 minutes over two legs of the team’s Eastern Conference semifinal loss to a calf injury. Both players said it would be OK if Coach Patrick Vieira opted to rest them a game here or there.

“Many players on the team are good and the coach has to choose who plays every week,” Pirlo said. “We have to work hard every day to play Sunday. It is important that all the players feel good and the coach has the possibility to play the best.”