CBC Sports - FIFA Confederations Cup

FIFA Confederations CupItaly's 'Maestro' Andrea Pirlo set for 100th cap

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 | 09:55 AM

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Andrea Pirlo was instrumental in Italy's run to the 2006 World Cup title and the 2012 Euro final. (Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images) Andrea Pirlo was instrumental in Italy's run to the 2006 World Cup title and the 2012 Euro final. (Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

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Andrea Pirlo will celebrate his 100th cap at Brazil's famed Maracana Stadium this Sunday as Italy takes on Mexico at the FIFA Confederations Cup. Pirlo is slowly starting to show is age, but the Italian midfielder's ability to find teammates on the field remains like no other.
Andrea Pirlo will celebrate his 100th cap at Brazil's famed Maracana Stadium this Sunday as Italy takes on Mexico at the FIFA Confederations Cup (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 3 p.m. ET).

At 34, Pirlo is slowly starting to show is age, a step slower and a tad thinner. But the Italian midfielder's ability to find teammates on the field remains like no other.

Marcello Lippi's thoughts sum up his greatness: "Pirlo is a silent leader, he speaks with his feet."

It is for this reason that coach Cesare Prandelli is toying with the idea of removing a second striker from the starting 11, in this case Stephan El Shaawary and bolstering the midfield with the addition of Emanuele Giacherini or Alberto Aquilani, providing coverage for Pirlo to dictate the tempo of the game.

After captaining Italy's U-21 team to the 2000 European Championship, Pirlo started his journey with the senior squad in 2002. Eleven years later, he has appeared in two World Cups and three European Championships. He was the star of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, earning Man of the Match honours in three of Italy's seven games en route to the title, and was instrumental in leading Italy to the 2012 European final.

While the end of the road is in sight and successor Marco Veratti waits in the wings, we will all sit back and enjoy as the sun sets on an outstanding career.

This Sunday, the man known as "The Maestro" and "Mozart" will conduct his orchestra for the 100th time on the historic stage of Maracana.

Follow Luca on Twitter @siriannil.

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