MLS: Andrea Pirlo overwhelmed by New York City debut

Andrea Pirlo was overwhelmed by the welcome he received from New York City fans after making his MLS debut in Sunday’s 5-3 victory over Orlando City.

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.

“It was beautiful,” the Italian told reporters 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. The most important thing was to rediscover the right spirit and my fitness and, above all, to get the victory,” he said.

“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.”

Pirlo was them asked about his thoughts on former side Juventus, telling Goal that he believes they will continue to win titles in the coming years.

“I still haven’t had a chance to see the new Juventus play yet but they can continue winning.”

Mayor Bill De Blasio told Goal his thoughts on the midfielder: “Amazing! He’s just so amazing! Awesome!”

The Italian’s new team-mates were clearly thrilled to play alongside the former World Cup, Champions League and Serie A winner, with Mix Diskerud claiming “he sees everything”, while captain David 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.