Pirlo honoured by 100-game milestone at Maracana

Rio de Janeiro, June 16 (IANS) Italy midfielder Andre Pirlo said he felt "honoured" to make his 100th international appearance at Brazil's iconic Maracana Stadium against Mexico Sunday.

The 34-year-old admitted that the Confederations Cup Group A match would provide one of the highlights of his 18-year professional career, reports Xinhua.

"It's a source of pride. I am lucky to be playing it here at the Maracana and I hope to be able to celebrate it with a victory. I am feeling great. I am here to do the best I can, despite the long season that we had in Italy," the 2006 World Cup winner said Saturday.

Earlier, Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre identified Pirlo as the key to Italy's fortunes. De la Torre said Mexico needed to "disconnect" the Juventus star to have any chance of winning the match.

"I appreciate his concern about me but I don't play alone. I think we will find ways to escape the defensive marking that Mexico tries," Pirlo said.

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