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Painful memories spur Pirlo

Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo says he is using the defeat to Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final to prepare himself for Celtic.

The 33-year-old was part of the AC Milan team that threw away a 3-0 lead in the second half to the Merseyside club in Istanbul in 2005 and eventually lost the match in a penalty shootout.

The experienced midfielder insists that the bad memory will spur him on in Wednesday’s second-leg encounter against Celtic, as his current club hold a 3-0 advantage against Neil Lennon’s side.

“I will never forget the game against Liverpool in Istanbul – for all the wrong reasons,” Pirlo told the Scottish Sun. “And it is a game I will be reminding myself of before Celtic.

“We are in a very strong position and expect to progress after the result in Glasgow – but we can’t think all we need to do is turn up.

“Celtic, for a start, will be wounded. They are a very proud club and have a very proud set of fans. It will have hurt them to see the way they were beaten at their home – and if we are complacent, then that is when they could have their revenge.

“If we stay professional and concentrate then I am confident we can progress. We respect our rivals but to fail against the Scots in Turin would be one of the biggest disasters in the history of this club.”

Despite their spot in the quarter-finals being all but secure, the former Milan maestro concedes that the Serie A club are not favourites to win the competition.

“We have to be realistic, we know we are not favourites for the Champions League. People will look at Bayern, Real Madrid, Manchester United and, even after their defeat, Barcelona,” Pirlo added.

“The most important thing we can do is stay focused against Celtic in Turin — and then we can see what the draw brings after that.”

However, his Chilean team-mate, Arturo Vidal, is adamant that the tie is over and that other clubs will be fearful of drawing Juventus in the next stage of the competition.

He declared: “It is impossible for Celtic to beat our score from the first leg. It would take a miracle for them to go through.

“The difference between the two clubs is huge and it is up to us to show in this game we are in contention to win the Champions League. I think this team can go far in the competition.”

Mon 4 March, 2013
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