Andrea Pirlo discussed his Italy call-up and sees Juventus as favourites against Roma today in a video interview.
The New York City FC star is included in the Azzurri squad for Euro 2016 qualifiers against Malta and Bulgaria next week.
He and Toronto FC striker Sebastian Giovinco become the first MLS players ever to go on international duty with Italy.
“I heard a few days ago, at the beginning of the week. I was hoping I’d get called up and I’m happy to still be there,” Pirlo told our US correspondent Marco Messina.
“These are two important games for European qualification, it’s all to play for and there are still points up for grabs.
“We haven’t done anything yet, so therefore these are two important games. It is important that I return to Italy now and do well with the Nazionale.”
Pirlo was asked about Serie A, as his former Juventus teammates suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to Udinese in the opening round. Did he see it?
“No, because we were in Los Angeles and playing in the afternoon, so I didn’t see it live. I didn’t expect that result, but that’s how Serie A is. It’s tough and every game is important. I still think Juve are the best team.”
At 17.00 UK time (16.00 GMT), Juventus and Roma go head-to-head in a Serie A showdown at the Stadio Olimpico.
“I think Juventus are the favourites, as they are Champions of Italy, but Roma have reinforced their team a lot this summer.
“It’ll be a balanced match and entertaining to watch.”