Gianluigi Buffon says he can “die in peace”, having won the World Cup with Italy in 2006.
The goalkeeper was a key member of the side which triumphed over France in Berlin, and he’s gone on to become the Azzurri’s most-capped player of all time.
“I realised the greatest dream you can have as a kid, but also as a footballer,” Buffon told Copa90.
“When I was little I’d look through sticker albums and dream of playing in Serie A, playing for the national team, but perhaps dreaming of a World Cup was too much.
"I slept before the Champions League finals, but before the World Cup I didn't sleep for even a minute.
“Winning the World Cup is worth a ticket for life, making that kind of mark on life is unique, it means you can die in peace.”
If Giampiero Ventura’s side can negotiate the play-offs, Buffon will go to his sixth World Cup, having been in the squad in 1998 before playing in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.
“We still have to earn it, I hope we can get there. When you represent Italy you can’t not dream of winning, the dream has to be there.
“I’ve never started a competition not thinking I could win it. As an athlete you shouldn’t kill dreams or ambition. The dream is there, then of course there are percentage chances of winning, depending on the team you have.”