Saturday December 29 2012
Buffon: 'What a splendid 2012'

Gigi Buffon looks back over 2012, ahead to “at least another three years at the top” and claims Andrea Pirlo is on the same level as Leo Messi.

“I am 34 and for a goalkeeper I don’t consider myself old. I am mature,” the Juventus star told Sport Mediaset.

“I know where I can push myself and I think I have at least another three years at the top level.

“This year has been very satisfying both on the field and off, so 2012 will be remembered for a long time. After two consecutive seventh-place finishes, we even surprised ourselves by doing something memorable.

“It was all down to hard work, sweat and the fortune of being led by a great Coach.

“As for Italy, nobody expected us to reach the Euro 2012 Final. It’s true, getting there isn’t the same as winning, but at the starting gate I dare anyone to say we were among the favourites to reach the Final.”

It was hoped that Pirlo would win the Ballon d’Or after a year in which he took Juve to the Scudetto and was instrumental in Italy’s revival.

“I think it’s impossible to say Messi isn’t the best player in the world, as it’ll be incredible if anyone is ever able to replicate his figures,” continued Buffon.

“However, a striker always gets the front page headlines. For example, Pirlo is on the same level with Messi and anyone else in terms of quality, but he is a midfielder and won’t be treated the same way.”