Andrea Pirlo says he will be realizing a "childhood dream" when he takes to the pitch at Maracana for his 100th international cap in Italy's Confederations Cup opener against Mexico on Sunday.
The Juventus midfielder is set to become only the fifth centurion in Azzurri history at the newly-renovated Brazilian stadium this weekend, joining the likes of fellow World Cup 2006 winners Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluigi Buffon in the exclusive club.
"To get onto the Maracana pitch is the dream of every child. I will have the chance to play my 100th game with Italy here. I'm so happy," he beamed the at a press conference.
Meanwhile up to six Juve players will make up Italy's starting XI in Rio de Janeiro against the Tricolor - a feat which has been met with some scepticism - yet coach Cesare Prandelli could only see the positives in having so many Bianconeri-based personnel in his squad.
"A coach is fortunate to have so many players [from one club] at his disposal. He can only benefit from the chemistry they have established. Blocks are a good thing for the national team," the 55-year-old remarked.