Andrea Pirlo is “optimistic” that Italy will do well at the World Cup after their 1-1 friendly draw with Germany. 
“When the Coach arrived he helped younger players to settle in, so we have time to put together a fine mix of youth and experience for a great World Cup,” he told Rai Sport.
“This was an important test against a great side and we played them on an even keel. It was important to see what level we’re at on this stage of the season.”
Joachim Löw said this week Italy were “master illusionists” who tended to take teams by surprise.
“We are a team who never give in, we have great resources and always want to win. We proved that against Germany, where a few times in recent years they thought themselves superior and yet we still beat them.
“Germany have been together a long time and know each other well, but Italy are getting there and we’re very optimistic for the World Cup. We must always play at 100 per cent with the ultimate concentration and determination, but we never disappoint in these big tests because motivation is not hard to find.”
Pirlo was given a warm welcome at San Siro this evening, even though he has long since left Milan for Juventus.
“I played at San Siro for 10 years, so it’s always nice to come back here and receive such a good reception.”
He was asked about reports that Paolo Maldini will soon join the Milan staff as a director.
“I don’t know what will happen in future, but he’s a legend and it would be good to see him back in Italian football.
“I’d give the Ballon d’Or to Franck Ribery. I think he deserves it more, as with Bayern Munich he won everything there was to win this year.”
Rai Sport also asked Pirlo about his upcoming contract renewal talks with Juventus and left the door open.
“I don’t know, there’s a whole season ahead of us and we’ll talk about it at the right time. I am optimistic, always. I want to keep playing because I have fun and am in good shape. We’ll see if it’s with Juve or another team, but I won’t rule anything out.”