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Andrea Pirlo aiming for Sunday MLS debut with New York City FC

Former Juventus player and Italian international Andrea Pirlo says he's ready to make his MLS debut for New York City FC on Sunday, while adding he's eager to help grow the league.

Pirlo was speaking to media in New York today after being introduced as NYCFC's third designated player in addition to David Villa and Frank Lampard.

The 36-year-old participated in his first training session with the team earlier this week and says he feels great and thinks he has plenty left in the tank.

"I hope to be able to play on Sunday [against Orlando City SC], but we'll take it one day at a time," Pirlo said. "I worked even during the month's vacation, so I'm in pretty good shape. We'll see tomorrow.

"I played with many champions, but the important thing is always the team, as the group goes beyond any single player. I will therefore put myself at the disposal of the coach and my teammates to get the best results.

"These two days have been important and I was eager to get started on this new experience, to see what was new. It went well, now I just need to find my best form so I can start playing."

Pirlo admitted that one of the reasons he left Juventus was his fear that he'd no longer be the focal point of the club's plans, but downplayed any notion that his move to MLS was based completely on a big pay day.

"Money was never an issue for me, as football comes first. When you are playing at the highest level, it's right to earn well, but money is one thing and football is another.

"I've never needed to play for money. I play because I love football. Other people can say what they want."

Playing in New York, a city he says he knows well and enjoys, in front of the huge Italian community in the area was also a draw, as was the chance to help a growing league like MLS continue its ascendancy.

"MLS is growing as a League. It's still of a fairly low level, very physical," Pirlo said. "But the level is growing with many players coming in from Europe and South America, so I hope it will continue to improve.

"I came to New York City as a player, so my objective is to take the team as high as possible, preferably to victory. If that helps Major League Soccer grow, then that's welcome too, but I was signed as a New York City FC player and to do what's best for the team.

""My passion is always the same. In fact, with a new adventure the passion always grows. Fortunately I still have this hunger and this passion, otherwise I would've stayed in Italy and retired.

"As long as I have this passion, I will continue playing football."

Related Video
Pirlo trains with NYCFC for the first time
Pirlo trains with NYCFC for the first time
Andrea Pirlo trained with his New York City FC team mates for the first time as he prepares for his MLS debut.

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sportsespnandrea pirlomajor league soccernew york city fc
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