Extraordinary players who finished their MLS careers

The premier soccer league in the United States seems to be the perfect home for great soccer players who want to put an end to their careers. Let's see the most emblematic.

Andrea Pirlo

These are some of the players who played their last games as professionals in MLS. Photo: Flickr-EMELEC-NYC

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: Jugadores extraordinarios que acabaron sus carreras en la MLS

Little by little, the MLS has established itself as a more than interesting alternative for footballers. During the last years emblematic players, with a great trajectory in European football, have decided to emigrate to this league. This gradually made the United States a viable option for footballers who want to retire. Let's look at the most important player cases.


The most emblematic case, but which also corresponds to a historical moment when MLS was not so consolidated. After a fruitful career in his native Santos, where he won 6 leagues, 2 Libertadores, 2 Intercontinental, and 2 World Cups, the Brazilian star decided to emigrate to the United States.

Precisely, in 1975 Pelé announced that he would emigrate to the North American Soccer League (NASL) to position that sport on a national scale. His tenure lasted only three seasons, where he was crowned once, winning the Most Valuable Player award in 1977 and setting the first precedent for footballers to retire there.

Andrea Pirlo

The current coach of Juventus of Italy also decided to emigrate to the United States to end his career. After a brilliant career in his homeland, where he passed with great success for teams such as Inter, Milan, or Juventus, he decided to take his last steps in the United States.

More specifically in New York City F. C since 2015, where, according to Marca, he coincided with other star figures, such as Frank Lampard or David Villa. It was a relatively young team, as in 2013 it was announced as an MLS franchise. Although he was able to show flashes of his football until 2017, it was clear that it was not the one from years ago.

Also read: European coaches who won the Copa Libertadores

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Possibly one of the most iconic German players of recent times. In this case, we knew him for having a more than outstanding performance both in his native team, where he won the 2014 World Cup and in Bayern Munich, where he was a fundamental piece in obtaining several titles.

After a brief period with Manchester United, the midfielder decided to leave for MLS, with a clear objective: to have his last games there. The truth is that he achieved this in 2017 and was until 2019 in the Chicago Fire, where he also became an important link for a team that, in any case, had few aspirations.


The winner of the 2007 Ballon d'Or, which awarded the best player of each season, also decided to put an end to his career in an MLS team. In 2015, after returning to São Paulo and AC Milan after his stay at Real Madrid, he decided to venture to the United States.

More specifically, he played for Orlando City until 2017, where he again demonstrated several things that made him one of the most important in MLS. In short, the Brazilian was able to finish his career in a good way, having dribbles that even resembled those of his time of glory.

Steven Gerrard

The now Scottish Rangers coach knew how to be one of Liverpool's most iconic figures. However, when he realized that he was no longer up to the demands of a league like the Premier League, he decided to embark on the MLS in 2015 and 2016 wearing the Los Angeles Galaxy jersey.

There he managed to have a good level, although injuries and his own physical condition did not allow him to play the number of games he would have liked. However, some things could be seen that made him one of the most complete midfielders on the planet and one of Anfield's greatest idols.

Thierry Henry

The now French technical director also decided to emigrate to the United States, after making great strides through Monaco, Arsenal, and Barcelona. More specifically, he came to the New York Red Bulls in 2010, where he stayed until 2014, at which point he decided to retire.

During those 5 seasons, he achieved an enormous level, to the point that, for the 2011-2012 season he had a small loan to Arsenal of England. During his time as a franchise player in the MLS, he won 2 Eastern Conference and an MLS Supporter's Shield, so we saw that, sometimes, players who decide to end their MLS careers do so at an excellent level.

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