Andrea Pirlo to retire from Italy following World Cup
Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo, who was a member of the country's 2006 World Cup champion squad, is set to hang up his cleats in international competition following the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Pirlo announced his plans during a press conference, but he did say he will continue to play on the club level with Juventus. The 35 year old signed a new two-year deal with the Serie A club earlier this week.
"When I play football, I always aim to go all the way," Pirlo said while addressing the media. "I never settle for just getting through the group stage and reaching the last 16 -- the aim is always to get the maximum, which means going all the way.
"We've got a very competitive side and we'll give it our all, then I think I'll finish after the World Cup. I'm at a certain age now where it's time to move over and leave room for the others. It wouldn't make sense continuing.
"If ever there were any need for me to return, then of course I would, but if I were to come to the national team and not play, I'd just get angry. In that case, it would be better for me just to stay at home."
Pirlo also commented on the Azzurri's chances in the World Cup and their rivalry with England during the press conference.
"Italy can win the World Cup," Pirlo said. "It's got to be a World Cup that we will not want to forget in a hurry. "Italy against England have always been great games. The Euros was one thing but this is the World Cup -- things are different here. England are a great team -- they've improved a lot with some young players, but we know how to face them. We've always done well against them."
Italy begins its World Cup campaign against England on Saturday in the much-maligned field conditions at Arena Amazônia in Manaus.