Thursday June 5 2014
‘Alongside Baggio, Pirlo greatest’

Gianluigi Buffon has compared Andrea Pirlo’s ‘genius’ to that of Roberto Baggio and made clear Italy’s match with England is ‘not a play-off’.

In an extensive interview with the Guardian in which he discusses the particular traits to being a goalkeeper, the 36-year-old also had words for his Juventus and Azzurro colleague Pirlo, who is retiring from international duty after the World Cup.

“Pirlo is a genius. Together with Baggio, I think he’s the greatest talent that Italian football has produced in the last 25 years,” Buffon commented in the interview released this week.

“You can try and adopt the right countermeasures to contain him. But you know that in any given moment he can break the bank and everything you thought you knew [about stopping him] is worthless.”

Buffon also considered Italy’s opening Group D match at the World Cup, against Roy Hodgson’s England in Manaus on June 14.

“It’s the first game. Then there’s another two. It’s an important game. Not a play-off.

“I’ve never lost to England? Nor against Germany. I’ve played them five times and never been beaten.

“Capita! It happens!”

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