Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti has paid tribute to the "phenomenal" Andrea Pirlo and admits he has modelled his game on the Juventus star.
The 34-year-old has won four Serie A titles, two Champions Leagues and a World Cup in a glittering career, and Verratti says he has always looked on Pirlo - and fellow Azzurri icon Alessandro Del Piero - as role models for his career.
"When I was little, I loved Alessandro Del Piero, who made history with Juventus and the national team. And growing up, once I took to the pitch, I looked closely at what Andrea Pirlo was doing," Verratti told RMC.
"Now, I play with him in the national team. It's phenomenal."
Verratti has been in impressive form for PSG so far this season, and the 20-year-old is determined to seal a place in Cesare Prandelli's plans for next summer's World Cup by sustaining his performance level throughout 2013-14.
"I know how rewarding it is to play for the national team. It's the dream of every player," he added. "I want to go to the World Cup with Italy, but I know the competition will be fierce. I must do everything to convince the coach to take me."