The midfielder became only the fifth player to reach the milestone for the Azzurri, and ensured that the occasion would not be solely a ceremonial one with a man of the match display – including a stunning free kick to break the deadlock.
“First of all, it’s really rewarding for me,” Pirlo told reporters. “It’s not something everyone does. It’s a great feeling to get 100 caps and to score, especially in a historic stadium like the Maracana. I could only have dreamed of this as a child."
But Pirlo was not ready to look at the landmark as the beginning of the end of his international career, and maintained that he still had much to accomplish in an Italy shirt before hanging up his boots.
“I was lucky enough to get 100 caps for Italy, but it’s not over yet,” revealed Pirlo. "I have other objectives, including winning the Confederations Cup.”
Pirlo joins Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluigi Buffon, Paolo Maldini and Dino Zoff as the other Italy centurions, but was the quickest out of the five to reach the landmark, with less than 11 years passing since his international debut against Azerbaijan in September 2002.