Wednesday April 19 2017
Win it for Gigi!

The Champions League with Juventus is the only moment still missing from Gigi Buffon’s career, writes Richard Thomas.

Such has been the relentlessness of the Old Lady's recent domination of calcio that only another genuine challenge in Europe's premier club competition will be enough to completely satisfy expectation. And, if Juve do finally add to European Cups won in 1985 and 1996 to record what Bianconeri fans will regard as an overdue third triumph, few will have deserved it more than Gigi Buffon.

There is precious little the 39-year-old has failed to achieve in a career that, regardless of events in the remainder of it, will see him go down in history as one of the all-time goalkeeping greats. In terms of the sheer volume of trophies he has won, the man nicknamed 'Superman' has a CV comparable to any of football's most prominent superheroes.

A serial Serie A winner, at club level Buffon has also tasted victory three times in the Coppa Italia and once in the UEFA Cup with former team Parma. His role in Italy's 2006 World Cup win means his Azzurri legacy is secure, while he boasts a plethora of individual awards and records for both club and country. With two Final defeats to Milan in 2003 and Barcelona in 2015, the one and only glaring omission from his collection is a Champions League winner’s medal.

Performance-wise Buffon is still, as the old cliché goes, like a fine Italian wine - only improving with age. He once again showed his enduring class and importance in Juve's 3-0 Champions League quarter-final first-leg win over Barcelona last week, demonstrating agility and speed of reaction not seen in many 39-year-olds to make one particularly spectacular save from Andres Iniesta with the score at 1-0. It could turn out to be one of the tie's key moments. The standard of his displays over the years warrants recognition in Cardiff on June 3.

More than simply the amount of silverware he has won or his continued excellence, however, Buffon is loved far more by Juve fans for displaying qualities such as leadership, loyalty and the ability to overcome adversity during his long stay in Turin. Never was this more apparent than in 2006, when the Old Lady’s name was sullied by the Calciopoli scandal. Rather than seek a move to a leading European club, as he undoubtedly could have done, he remained to help Juve back out of Serie B and has become a figurehead of the current era of domination they are enjoying.

The prospect of Buffon leading Juve to Champions League glory is made all the sweeter by the fact he was also present for those trips to Trieste and Treviso a decade ago.

Many players and clubs win the Champions League, but Buffon doing so with Juventus would be the defining moment of an almost career-long journey that has taken in great highs and devastating lows.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
Buffon without doubt the greatest Keeper of all time, his longevity in playing at the highest level & to such a high standard, no other keeper to date can competed with.

Remember Italy's play off against Russia in Russia for a place in the France 1998 World Cup...he was just a kid but he was legendary in that game..1998 people! What other keeper has performed heroics at the top level for a period of 20 years? Not Schmeichel, Casillas, Yashin, Cech etc. Zoff was a great but not at Buffons level
on the 21st April, 2017 at 11:54am
Lets not forget this was the same Barca that put 6 past PSG a few weeks ago. Everyone started singing their praises and saying how they are still the best team in Europe. Enrique went as far as saying the Juve task was even simpler than the PSG one - as they only had to score 4. Guess what - they managed to score a total number of ZERO goals in 180 mins of football. I hope Juve go all the way.
on the 21st April, 2017 at 10:01am
Win it for Gigi, win it for Nedved. It really is time.
on the 21st April, 2017 at 3:18am
Win it for Buffon and the fans! We also deserve it as much.
on the 20th April, 2017 at 8:14am
@ Viktor Yet, it's your stupidity that you have proven over the years in this blog.
on the 19th April, 2017 at 9:10pm
It would be on one hand painful to see Juve win the UCL being a Milanista but, as a fan of Calcio and Gigi I hope this is Juve's year - can only congratulate them on their dealings over the past 5 seasons, hopefully Yonghong Li will put us back ahead in Europe
on the 19th April, 2017 at 4:56pm
Oh, how I wish we beat Barca tonight. Unlucky for us that Barca have an attack like no other and even if we win, it's semi-finals next.

Ok, son. Settle down. Just remember that this clown outdid his predecessor, and even Conte admits it.
on the 19th April, 2017 at 2:24pm
If anybody deserves this trophy, then its Gigi. He has long been a footballing role model for both Italy and Juve. Hope this year is his year.
on the 19th April, 2017 at 1:07pm
Listen, the ONLY reason Mustafa is spitting at Allegri is because he use to be a Milan coach.. Anything that has to do with Milan makes Mustafa lose hes mind which he has proven so many times in this blog. Allegri has been sublime.
on the 19th April, 2017 at 12:45pm
Almighty Barca were the Barca that were kicking his rear-end around for years during his Milan's Days. This Barca cannot even beat Malaga, or win clean against Sociedad.
on the 19th April, 2017 at 11:24am
I hope Allergy won't ruin it tonight for us.
on the 19th April, 2017 at 11:21am
@ 33 Sul Campo

HahahahaHAAHa !
Allegri out-thinks opponents !!!! Go to your room kid. I'm just praying he doesn't kick his team out tonight like he did last year.
on the 19th April, 2017 at 11:20am
Juve are going to have to beat the ref too, not something they are use to doing. Although I do hope they manage.
on the 19th April, 2017 at 11:07am
Win it for Juve with Gigi!
on the 19th April, 2017 at 10:54am
Do it for everybody! We have long for this. Far too long! It is time to bring the trophy back home! FORZA JUVE!
on the 19th April, 2017 at 10:46am
@Interello Ok fine - we'll promise to shut up if the good Lord let's us win it - you hear that Lord??? Pleassseee!

In all honesty though dude, I don't believe we would be. Given it's been so long since we won it and the finals we've lost, it's become an obsession for us. All we want is to win it so we can actually relax a bit in this competition. Until then the pressure will just build and build.

And of course as you say, Gigi must win it. No more boring Spanish clubs aided by the referees.
on the 19th April, 2017 at 10:32am
I want Juventus to win it for Buffon but Juventus fans are going to be insufferable if they do!
on the 19th April, 2017 at 9:58am
If there's any justice in football Gigi wins it this year
on the 19th April, 2017 at 9:54am
I'm with Juveman; @Mustafa, whatever you're smoking, give yourself a break from it. Juve have been outperforming in the CL in recent years and on the verge of scalping Barca who many tipped (and still tip) as favourites for the competition. I had doubts when Allegri replaced Conte but I can't doubt his tactical ability...Conte relied on devastating grit whereas Allegri out-thinks opponents, making them look like fools.
on the 19th April, 2017 at 9:52am
clown of a coach ??!?! are you ok ? we went to the finals in his first year. we should have kicked out BAYERN in his second and we're about to kick out barca in his third !?! literally the ONLY team to do better over that same period is al mighty barca.
on the 19th April, 2017 at 7:56am
All hail Gigi
on the 19th April, 2017 at 7:15am
the likes of Gigi and King Kong are what make me really wanna win it this year, and those what make me blind myself on taking swaps on our clown of a coach.
on the 19th April, 2017 at 4:49am

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