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Feb 28, 2013

Pirlo fears United and Madrid

Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo says he fears drawing Manchester United or Real Madrid in the next round of the Champions League.

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Juve will reach the quarter-finals of the competition barring an unlikely comeback from Celtic, having beaten the Scotish champions 3-0 at Parkhead in the first leg, but two-time European champion Pirlo does not think his team can win the tournament this season.

"We're not ready to win the Champions League, even if we are still in there and giving it a go," the 33-year-old told La Repubblica. "There are sides in the competition who are a lot stronger than us."

The last-16 tie between Madrid and United still hangs in the balance after a 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Bernabeu, but Pirlo feels either team would have too much for Juve.

"They are not that far away but they are strong, stronger than us," he added. "They have champions all over the place while we don't. This is just the beginning for us."

Pirlo's contract is up this summer and the 2006 World Cup winner is yet to make up his mind over his future beyond the end of this season.

He said: "I was told by someone that I was wanted [by another club] in the summer. It was pleasing given my age but I chose to stay. I still have a year to go on my contract and then we'll see.

"I'll continue playing for as long as I feel like it. I've got no plan. I just think about objectives - to win again with Juventus and target the World Cup for Italy."

Pirlo has made 31 appearances for the Bianconeri this season, scoring five goals and providing seven assists.

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