Istanbul heartbreak keeps Pirlo on guard

Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo claims the pain from losing the 2005 Champions League final ensures he will take Celtic seriously when they clash on Wednesday.

Andrea Pirlo looks on during the match between Juventus and Chelsea


Pirlo was part of the AC Milan squad which lost to Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul; the Rossoneri had taken a three goal lead at half-time, but, inspired by captain Steven Gerrard, the Reds mounted an incredible comeback to draw level and eventually lifted the trophy after winning the resulting penalty shoot-out.

And although Juventus currently hold a commanding 3-0 advantage over Celtic from the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie, Pirlo claims that the painful memories from the 2005 final means he will not be taking the Scottish giants lightly when they meet in Turin for the second leg.

"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 football 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."

Pirlo also insisted the Bianconeri were not looking further than their next game with regards to their Champions League aspirations.

"We have to be realistic, we know we are not favourites for the Champions League," Prilo added. 

"People will look at Bayern, Real Madrid, Manchester United and even after their defeat, Barcelona.

"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."

Pirlo eventually avenged Milan's Champions League loss in 2005 by leading the club to the trophy in 2007, with the Rossoneri beating the same opponents 2-1 in the final.

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