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Feb 6, 2013

Pirlo confident of avoiding Celtic upset

Andrea Pirlo insists Juventus have learned from the mistakes made by Barcelona and "are ready to go to battle" with Celtic in their Champions League meeting next week.

Pirlo, 33, will be a key figure when Juve travel to Glasgow for the first leg of the last-16 tie and, having seen the Hoops secure an incredible victory over Barca in the group stage, the Italy international insists he and his team-mates will benefit from having greater flexibility than Barca.

"We are prepared for whatever Celtic have to offer," Pirlo said. "We saw that they beat Barcelona in Glasgow but we are prepared to adapt maybe more than Barcelona did.

"We know Barcelona play fantastic football but Celtic frustrated them. Whatever way Celtic want to play, we are ready for them. If they want to play football, we'll play football. But if they want to battle, we are ready to go to battle."

Pirlo has enjoyed mixed fortunes against Celtic in the past, having played for Milan in the narrow 1-0 aggregate victory over a Hoops side including current boss Neil Lennon back in 2007, when the Rossoneri won on their way to their last Champions League triumph.

But Pirlo also tasted defeat at Parkhead in the following season's group stage as Celtic humbled the reigning European champions with a 2-1 victory, and he knows to expect a difficult contest when he returns with Juventus.

He said: "I know that Celtic Park will be like a gladiator arena but we're ready. We have players who have won the World Cup and Champions League so we are used to intimidating games. I'm sure the noise from the Celtic fans will be crazy but that will only make us more determined to go into battle."

"We have a real respect for Celtic and they're in this stage of the competition because they deserve to be. We have studied them and they are capable of playing very good football. They do so every week in their domestic league but, with all respect, this is going to be a bigger challenge than anything domestically."

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