Gigi Buffon named his sporting heroes and explained why Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal of football.
The Juventus goalkeeper spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport magazine Sportweek about the figures he looks up to, including swimming champion Federica Pellegrini.
“The top of the list is without doubt Alex Zanardi. Few would’ve got back on their feet, as it were, even without legs. He teaches us the importance of the mind, as that rules everything.
“Even with the difficulties of the disability, having an active mind, creating objectives, that helps you to live life with great enthusiasm.”
Zanardi was a Formula 1 driver, but a devastating crash in 2001 forced him to have both legs amputated.
He continues to race specially-adapted cars, but has also become a Paralympic gold medal handcycling winner.
Buffon looked closer to home for his next idols, with some pretty clear comparisons between tennis and football.
“Federer is infinite class, while Nadal is perseverance, sweat and also talent, otherwise you cannot win all the Grand Slams he achieved.
“Nadal’s hard work and constant desire to improve himself allowed him to be on a par with the most talented tennis player in history.
“The comparison is obvious and makes me smile, as Leo Messi is Federer, while Cristiano Ronaldo is like Nadal.”
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