Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard, the greatest Italian (definitively) and English (arguably) players of the 21st century, are coming to America. Their paths famously crossed on that 2005 night in Istanbul, back when Gerrard looked exactly the same but Pirlo hadn’t yet birthed the beard that gives him his >brooding il professore look. Two year’s later Pirlo’s Milan would exact their revenge on Gerrard’s Liverpool in Athens.
Their paths will cross again on August 23 when NYCFC bring their baby blues to the best coast to battle the Galaxy. But both men will have a lot of acclimating to do before then. Neither one has played club football outside of his respective home country before. It’s more than just getting used to turf pitches, strip malls, hot dogs, and far-flung flights. The cities, clubs, and cultures Pirlo and Gerrard are leaving behind are nothing like what they’ll find in the self-proclaimed “Greatest City in the World” and in La-La Land. Here now, a comparison of all that Pirlo has left behind versus his new home.