Andrea Pirlo says Juventus need to go into Tuesday’s opening Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid with plenty of confidence, knowing they have nothing to lose when they take on the reigning European champions in the first of two exciting encounters.
The midfield maestro, speaking to journalists at the club’s Media Day in Vinovo, admits Carlo Ancelotti’s side will need keeping under close wraps but believes the Bianconeri’s performances in Europe should give them heart ahead of their biggest test yet.
Below is a summary of his pre-match thoughts:
How do you take on Real?
“The first game is crucial and we’ll need to play with intelligence as we have done in recent years. We’ll be mindful but also show some swagger, because we have a dream to fulfill and nothing to lose, but also aware that there’s a second leg to follow.”
Standing ovation at the Bernabeu
“It was a great feeling, as it always is when you’re applauded in such a stadium. We hope we can also earn this recognition, all together, in a week’s time.”
“He’s like a father to me. We worked together for many years, he gave me my chance in top level football and changed my position. We won a lot together and I experienced unforgettable moments with him.”
“I needed a new challenge and stimulus after 10 years with the same team where I won everything. I found a perfect side in Juve, with motivation that matched my own.”
“I decided to leave Milan because my time there had come to an end. Contrary to what was written, I’ve never had any problems with him. In fact, I’d always been in the team up until my injury.”
“I don’t listen to compliments and I don’t remember them. Whilst I’ve still got the desire to go out and train and am in good shape I hope I can keep playing. When this no longer happens, I’ll be the first to step away. I’ve been lucky enough to play for the biggest Italian clubs and have no regrets.”
“The first six months were tough, as they often are for Spaniards who need to adjust to Italian football and the physical work involved. Then he started to find his feet and score goals. He’ll be excited at first to see old friends and team-mates again, but then it’ll be a different thing entirely on the pitch.”
Pirlo at Real Madrid
“I was close to joining in 2006 with Capello. It was pretty much done and dusted, but then I renewed my contract with Milan. We won the Champions League that year, so I can say I’ve got no regrets.”
Importance of Tevez
“Carlitos is a great player, and that’s not something we’ve discovered here. We’re lucky enough to have him with us and hope he’ll help us both against Real and in the future.”