Football insiders have scoffed at claims that former Azzuri gun Andrea Pirlo will come out of retirement to make an FFA Cup cameo appearance for NPLVIC side Avondale FC.
The Avengers are allegedly in "advanced" talks to sign the World Cup winner for a one-off game for their upcoming quarter-final FFA Cup clash against Sydney FC.
The 39 year old playmaker had an illustrious career in Serie A with AC Milan and Juventus and also played 60 games for MLS side New York City.
Pirlo had three seasons in the MLS but was plagued by injuries towards the end of his stint and officially retired last November at the end of the 2017 season.
Sources close to Avondale insisted to FTBL that talks have been ongoing for the past fortnight and that there has been significant progress, but admit it is still unlikely Pirlo will join them.
And one Australian football agent has dismissed the story as a publicity stunt gimmick.
“What’s he going to do for the team? They’re trying to win a big game and he doesn’t know the players…,” one agent said privately. "It’s hypothetical though as he’s not going to come.
“I’d be staggered if he came to play. I just can’t see it. It’s good to be ambitious, but the player has everything to lose by doing it.
"What’s it going to do for his name? Nothing, it can only damage him.”
The Melbourne club, based in Parkville, finished third in NPLVIC this season and now face a semi-final against Bentleigh Greens on Friday. Their current highest profile player is former Melbourne City Argentinian import Jonatan Germano.
Avondale were reluctant to comment on the reports with two club officials refusing to shed any light on the situation.
A spokesperson added: “The only comment the club can give you is we are waiting to hear back from his management.”