Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas says his team will need to pay special attention to Andrea Pirlo in Sunday’s Euro 2012 final against Italy.
The 33-year-old playmaker has been scintillating for Italy and put in another sterling display in Thursday’s 2-1 victory over Germany.
Fabregas is wary of the threat posed by the Juventus midfielder and also said he was impressed by Mario Balotelli’s performance against the Germans.
“We will have to stop Italy’s attackers and Pirlo as well,” Fabregas told reporters at a press conference.
“Balotelli is a great player and he showed it yesterday. He scored two great goals against Germany in the semi-finals.
“That says it all. I really liked the way he played. He will be a threat, like Antonio Cassano or any other player.”
Spain have become just the second side to reach three straight major finals, and Fabregas has called on his team to go one better than West Germany on Sunday.
“This is not the time to reflect on my season at Barcelona,” Fabregas said. “That is in the past.
“What matters is to be ready to play another final with the team on Sunday. We want to make more than history, because we have already made history.”
Questioned about Andres Iniesta’s role with Spain, Fabregas said: “He had a tough season because of the injuries he suffered, but he arrived at the Euros in great form.
“There are only a few players who are as creative as he is. He is a different type of player.
“We need him to be a central piece and we trust him a lot.”