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Andrea Pirlo has announced he’d be retiring from his playing career at the end of the year and he has left the door open to link up with compatriot and former boss Antonio Conte at Chelsea when he retires from football at the end of the year.

The 38-year-old who has had an illustrious career, was recently linked with becoming Conte’s assistant at Chelsea, and he has thrown a bit more light on that.

“You realise that the time has come,” Pirlo told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Every day you have physical problems, you are no longer able to train as you would like because you always have some problem.

“At my age you have to say enough. It is not as if you can keep going till you are 50. I will do something else.

“My future, I don’t know yet. I will return to Italy in December.

“An assistant to Conte? People are saying that. I have my ideas but I need time to decide.”

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Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.