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Over 20 years since Pirlo's last relegation battle

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - 01:37

In his first season in the MLS, Andrea Pirlo's NYC FC are fighting for a playoff spot -- something the Italian star hasn't faced since his start at Brescia.

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SHOWS: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 22, 2015) (REUTERS-ACCESS ALL) 1. ANDREA PIRLO STANDING NEXT TO UNVEIL OF HIS BUS 2. PIRLO STANDING NEXT TO DECORATED SEAT ON BUS 3. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) NYC FC MIDFIELDER ANDREA PIRLO SAYING [ROUGH TRANSLATION]: "Yeah, it's the first time. I think the last time I was in a relegation battle was when I started playing for Brescia over 20 years ago. It requires a lot of effort to prevent relegation. But, it's a strange thing to not only be playing to stay out of the bottom but also for a chance to reach the playoffs." 4. MEDIA IN FRONT OF PIRLO 5. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) NYC FC MIDFIELDER ANDREA PIRLO SAYING [ROUGH TRANSLATION]: "I'm really happy to participate in this important event for NYC FC. Seeing my image on a bus in New York is something that is really nice and it makes me proud." 6. FRANK LAMPARD, DAVID VILLA AND PIRLO POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHS STORY: With a World Cup Victory for Italy and club titles with AC Milan and Juventus, Andrea Pirlo is used to success. But now, as the star of New York City Football Club in Major League Soccer, the Italian great is facing a challenge he hasn't seen since his first days in football at Brescia. "I think the last time I was in a relegation battle was when I started playing for Brescia over 20 years ago," said Pirlo at a ceremony on Tuesday (September 22) where he and his teammates David Villa and Frank Lampard each received a double decker tour bus named in their honor. "It requires a lot of effort to prevent relegation. But, it's a strange thing to not only be playing to stay out of the bottom but also for a chance to reach the playoffs," he added about the MLS system. However, with only four games left in the season, NYC FC is in danger of missing the MLS playoffs in their first season. Unlike the European leagues with promotion and relegation between first, second, and third divsions, the American league is a closed system with the 20 clubs split into an Eastern and Western conference where the top six teams in each division qualify for a home-and-away knockout playoff to reach the MLS Cup final. The NYC FC is currently in eighth spot and two points out of the running with a difficult, but not impossible, road ahead: three away matches and only one home game left at Yankee Stadium. As for the bus, it was an unexpected pleasure for the 36-year-old Pirlo. "Seeing my image on a bus in New York is something that is really nice and it makes me proud," he said.

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Over 20 years since Pirlo's last relegation battle

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - 01:37