Andrea Pirlo believes playing in the MLS is the reason behind his omission from Italy’s training camp ahead of Euro 2016.
The World Cup-winning playmaker won the last of his 116 caps in September’s 1-0 win against Bulgaria in qualification for the upcoming tournament, and was left out of Antonio Conte’s 28-man provisional party, despite the fact fellow midfielders Marco Verratti and Claudio Marchisio are injured.
And Pirlo feels that his move to New York City has damaged his chances of representing Italy at an eighth international finals – although he has no regrets about crossing the Atlantic.
“When someone decides to come to the US, he knows what he’s getting into. I reflected on this and I knew what the risks were,” the 37-year-old told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It’s clear that anyone who plays in Belgium or another league with less quality still has a chance of making the Champions League or the Europa League. And that’s what makes the difference.”
Nevertheless, Pirlo has not given up hope of making Conte’s final 23-man squad as players from clubs such as Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United have all not yet joined up with the national team due to domestic commitments this weekend.
“Conte has still not named the final squad. The players who are still playing in official games have not been called up. Sebastian [Giovinco, of Toronto FC] and I talked to Conte about the decision. It’s still possible.”
Despite potentially missing out on the European Championship, Pirlo is enjoying his time in the Big Apple, where his New York team-mates include David Villa and Frank Lampard.
“It is a pleasure to be with guys as awesome as my current team-mates, helping them grow in training and giving them advice during games,” he added.