Ognenovski ready for Pirlo magic

The Sky Blue centre-back has singled out the veteran Italian playmaker as the one to watch when Antonio Conte's men take on the A-League's best at ANZ Stadium
EXCLUSIVE
By Aidan Ormond

Sasa Ognenovski is elated he'll share a pitch with Italian maestro Andrea Pirlo but the Sydney FC defenders says Juventus should expect a fierce A-League All Stars team when the two sides meet next month.

Ognenovski was one of the six players named on Monday in Josep Gombau's squad for the August 10 clash at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

The former AFC Footballer of the Year was joined by Central Coast Mariners fullbacks Storm Roux and Josh Rose in the representative side following an online vote.

Ognenovski's Sky Blues team-mate Ali Abbas and Wanderers pair Matthew Spiranovic and Tomi Juric rounded out the first half dozen players named.

More All Stars will be named across Australia this week as excitement ramps up for the clash next month.

And Ognenovski cannot wait to get into camp to prepare for what he calls a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"(Carlos) Tevez is a handy player," Ognenovski told www.a-leagueallstars.com.au with a smile, not wanting to downplay the Argentine's undoubted quality.

"But for me, Pirlo, just watching him even during the World Cup, how he controls games and dictates play.

"I'll look forward to playing against him the most."

However, any thoughts A-League players will be star-struck by a Juventus squad that has just won a third Serie A in succession and supplied 12 players to various nations at the World Cup were quashed by the Sky Blues' defensive leader.

For Ognenovski, there are no friendlies.

"No-one's going to go out and say 'it's a friendly game, back off'. Obviously no stupid tackles - you don't want to see that - but as a contest we'll make sure we give them as hard a game as we can.

"Obviously it'd be good to get a win on the board [after last year's 5-1  loss to Manchester United].

"We all play to win – nobody goes out to want to lose one or two nil.

"We want to win and we play to win and hopefully we can beat Juventus on our home turf."

The All Stars will be led by another Italian maestro Alessandro Del Piero – a former team-mate last season of Ognenovski at Sydney FC.

It all bodes for a special occasion in what might still be Del Piero's final game as a professional, despite recent speculation linking him with Celtic.

"If you're not playing in the Serie A, these are once in a lifetime games against once in a lifetime opponents," said 35-year-old Ognenovski, a former ACL winner and now retired Socceroo.

"To play with ADP against Juventus ... I was fortunate to play with him at Sydney last season and to play in a game like this is an amazing experience.

"You always want to play against the best players in the world and best teams in the world.

"It'll be a good test. They'll be in pre-season and most of us are in pre-season.

"It's pretty much a representative team of the A-League, so we have to put in our best performance and push them to the limits."