Friday 23 February 2018

5 reasons why you should be desperate for Gianluigi Buffon to win the Champions League

The Italy legend has won (almost) everything…

By Max McLean

Gianluigi Buffon is tantalisingly close to winning the Champions League with Juventus this season, and that should be music to the ears of any football fan.

The Italian goalkeeper’s team looks set to progress past Monaco to the final – here’s why that’s pretty exciting for Buffon fans.

1. Buffon’s never won the Champions League before, if you can believe it.

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Unless he wins the Champions League this year, Buffon runs the risk of being a pretty difficult quiz answer in a few years’ time – the Italian World Cup winner has never won the Champions League.

Having been with Juventus since 2001, the 39-year-old has been a runner-up with the Old Lady twice, losing on penalties to AC Milan in 2003 and 3-1 to Barcelona in 2015.

Juventus’s 2-0 first-leg semi-final win over Monaco gives them one foot in the final – if they do progress, will the jug-eared European Cup continue to elude him?

2. He’s nearing retirement, so he’s not going to get many more chances.

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He’s nearing 40 and, although Buffon’s spoken of no such plans to hang up his gloves, he’s undoubtedly in the twilight of his career as a goalie.

Buffon made his senior debut for Parma all the way back in 1995 – his first appearance for Italy came in 1997. As he pointed out recently, when he retires, Buffon will have played with players born from the 1950s to the 2000s.

Seven times an Italian champion, once a World Cup winner, 168 caps for his country and more than 600 Serie A appearances – will Buffon end an excellent career with the one trophy he’s yet to get his gloves on?

3. Juventus’s defence is what makes them great.

One of the finest goalies of his generation, Buffon has been a rock behind numerous defences throughout his career, and this year is no exception.

The Old Lady has gone six games without conceding a Champions League goal, including five knockout games, one short of Arsenal’s record of six set during the 2005/06 competition.

If he is to lift the European trophy at the end of this season, Buffon will have been one of the crucial players in that success.

4. He’s got both style and class.

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Of course, it’s not all about the saves – Buffon comes across as a class act without a ball heading towards him as well.

Not only is the goalie one of the coolest-looking keepers we’ve ever seen, all short sleeves, long hair and stubble, but he comes across pretty cool in quotes too.

Not all footballers would show such respect to an 18-year-old.

5. He’s never conceded against Lionel Messi – that’s got to count for something, right?

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And finally, we thought we’d just remind readers that Buffon has never conceded a goal against one of the greatest Champions League footballers of all time – Lionel Messi.

The Argentinian has won four Champions League titles with Barcelona, scoring 94 goals in the competition, but NONE of them came against Buffon.

Alright, so they’ve only met three times, but still. We think the Juve goalie deserves a Champions League title for it. Will he get one?

Press Association

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