Sunday June 16 2013
Pirlo's Mexico Century

Andrea Pirlo hopes to “celebrate my 100th cap in style at the Maracanà” against Mexico and names his Italy heirs.

The midfielder sat down at a Press conference in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the Confederations Cup opener, which kicks off at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

“I am happy, feel in good shape and ready for a great Confederations Cup,” smiled the veteran.

“I hope to celebrate my 100th cap in style at the Maracanà, which is the dream of every child. Our objective is to go as far as possible and we have everything it takes to achieve that.”

Mexico manager Jose Manuel De La Torre said Pirlo was the key figure and they’d try to “control” his influence.

“Of course it’s pleasing to know the opposition Coach has such high regard for me, but I am accustomed to playing while man-marked. Fortunately I am not alone there, so my many talented teammates will help find solutions.”

Pirlo was asked about his remarkable free kick capabilities, which have even impressed the Brazilian media.

“I originally tried to imitate the way Juninho Pernambucano hit the ball. It worked.”

The Italy Under-21 side reached the European Championship Final, so Pirlo looked ahead to who will take his place after the 2014 World Cup.

“There are many who can play in my place, such as Marco Verratti, or maybe Alessandro Florenzi. In any case, it will be Cesare Prandelli who decides.”

Probable line-ups

Mexico: Corona; Meza, Rodriguez, Moreno, Salcido; Zavala, Torredo; Aquino, Giovani dos Santos, Guardado; Hernandez

Italy: Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, De Sciglio; Montolivo, Pirlo, De Rossi; Marchisio, Giaccherini; Balotelli