World Cup winner and football darling Andrea Pirlo, 38, has announced he will retire when his contract with New York City FC ends in December.
The great Italian midfielder won six Serie A titles and two Champions Leagues during an illustrious career in Europe which saw him become a byword for class, cool and precision.
But he will play his final pass in December when the MLS season winds down.
"You realise that the time has come," Pirlo told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
" Every day you have physical problems, you cannot train as you want because you always have some problem. At my age, that's enough. It's not that you can go on forever until the age of 50. I'll do something else. At 38, it's just right to give young players room. I'm not angry. Instead, I will give a hand to team-mates and to the coach."
Pirlo has been linked with a coaching role at Chelsea under Antonio Conte, the manager with whom he won three of his six Serie A titles during their time together at Juventus.
"I'll do something else, I'll be back in Italy in December," he said. "Work with Conte? They say things, I have some ideas, but give me time to decide."
Pirlo emerged from the Brescia youth academy and spent three seasons with Inter before joining city rivals AC Milan in 2001 a move which would transform his career.
With the Rossoneri, Pirlo developed into a world-class talent, winning two league titles and the Champions League in 2003 and 2007 as he collected nine trophies in 10 years.
It was also during his time with Milan that he helped inspire Italy to World Cup glory in 2006.
But Milan made a huge strategic error in allowing Pirlo to leave on a free transfer in 2011 and he joined Juventus to help usher in one of the greatest periods in the club’s history, with Pirlo winning four straight league titles from 2011 to 2015.
Pirlo then joined NYCFC in the summer of 2015. He won 116 caps for Italy.