Andrea Pirlo was overwhelmed by the welcome he received from New York City fans after making his MLS debut on Sunday.
Pirlo came on for Mehdi Ballouchy in the 57th minute at Yankee Stadium, with the former Juventus midfielder earning a raucous ovation as he made his first appearance in a sky blue shirt.
New York defeated Orlando City 5-3.
“It was beautiful,” he said after the match.
“There were so many people who wanted to see me take to the field and when I did come into the game, I was moved by the ovation they gave me.”
The 36-year-old helped set up two goals after entering the action, turning past opponents on both occasions before feeding Kwadwo Poku, who set up David Villa and Tommy McNamara in the 67th and 71st minutes respectively.
“I felt good despite the heat. But the most important thing was to rediscover the right spirit and my fitness but above all to get the victory,” he said.
Pirlo added: “I hope that I will continue to improve my game. I have only been training for three days at this point so I also need to feel more comfortable with my team-mates and I am sure we will play well together.”
The Italian’s new team-mates were clearly thrilled to play alongside the former World Cup, UEFA Champions League and Serie A winner, with Mix Diskerud claiming “he sees everything”, while captain Villa predicted he will thrive alongside Pirlo.
“It’s going to be fantastic for me to have [Pirlo] here because he’s a player who is very good on the ball, and of course the forwards can benefit from that,” Villa said.
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