Andrea Pirlo’s has opened contract negotiations with Milan and admits he is hopeful of extending his stay with the club.

Pirlo’s contract expires in 2008 but the Rossoneri would lilke to see him stay beyond that date.

Pirlo, who scored both of Italy’s goals in the 2-0 victory over Scotland at the weekend, believes he has grown into his role for both club and country.

”I’m proud of what I did and what I am doing,” Pirlo told Gazzetta dello Sport.

”With calm and patience I’ve built an important role.

”I feel wanted and I have found people who believe in me, starting¬†with Carlo Ancelotti.

”I feel good in the national team environment too. Lippi wants to create a club spirit and it seems that he is doing it.

”At Milan I feel at home. I’m in one of the world’s strongest teams and we compete for the biggest competitions every year.”

This season has seen Pirlo continue his growth as one of Milan’s primary players and the Italy international attributes his improvement to the coaching of Ancelotti.

”It has been fundamental to have a teacher like him,” continued Pirlo.

”He played as a half back all his career and has many good suggestions.

”I’ve had the strength to believe in his plan and to not change my characteristics.”