Cynicism is the easy path. An easy path to walk when three divine sons of Europe arrive to sunset their careers in North America. “Over the hill.” we think. “Proof MLS is a retirement league.” we mutter. “These guys are just cashing in.” we write. It’s the same “I’ve come here to win trophies” babble. Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo. A general, an inspiration and a sorcerer. Each unique in skill set, and each arrive with a different ending to their European journeys. Steven missing out on his birthday cup. Frankie doing a strange and effective Manchester City midfielder impersonation. And Andrea chasing around the Barcelona clockwork.
Yes they’re old. And all three could channel their inner Lothar Matthäus. But what if instead we hope. What if we cast aside cynicism and imagine Frankie still bursting into the box unmarked. Or Stevie charging after the MLS and US Open Cups like a wild footballing moose. And Andrea walking around the pitch, playing delicate reverse passes for David Villa to kiss off the inside of the post. Let’s imagine this, let’s believe.
Twilight has come for these legends, but hopefully their final chapters will make for a brilliant read.