The Hoops take on Pirlo's club in the Round of 16 of Europe's premier club competition, which begins in February, and the Italy international suggests the Patrick Vieira-like qualities Wanyama possesses could prove pivotal.
"You need players to step up when you get to the last 16. You need your best players to have great individual games," said Pirlo.
"He is so young, but already he has proved himself to be a big-game player. His performance in the win over Barcelona was exceptional.
"He is big and can be a presence in the middle with his tackling.
"But there is also a calmness about Wanyama where he plays the right pass and does the simple things well under pressure. He has the attributes of a young Patrick Vieira.
"You can see why big European clubs have shown an interest in him.
"The first game in Glasgow we know will be a tough one, so it is important we don't let Wanyama control the game in the middle.
"Even though we know it is a tough place to go we will be looking to control the tempo of the game.