Gigi Buffon has praised Juventus and Napoli for how far they have come since playing each other in Serie B just six years ago.
The pair won promotion to the top flight in 2007 and the Champions League duo are now fighting it out for the Scudetto.
“The prestige of the tie was lost a bit after the years of Michel Platini and Diego Maradona,” the Bianconero captain told the Corriere dello Sport ahead of Sunday’s game.
“That returned with the matches in Serie B where both teams had ended up. In a few years, we found ourselves competing at the top and that is the result of planning.
“For Juventus, the club’s tradition and the [Agnelli] family was important, while Aurelio De Laurentiis deserves great credit for Napoli.”
The two clubs are joint second in the standings, three points behind a Roma side who have won 10 and drawn one of their first 11.
“Nobody expected the Giallorossi to be flying so high, not even themselves or their most optimistic supporter,” Buffon added.
“Their run signifies that they have a great desire, motivation and squad spirit – characteristics which allow you to scale unthinkable mountains.
“Roma are first and they deserve it. They will be a rival right up until the very end.”
Although Juventus are within touching distance of top spot, they haven’t had the easiest of starts to the campaign.
And a number of their key players, including Buffon, have been openly criticised after a few errors.
“To acclaim, by often exaggerating, and soon after start doubting everything or destroying, is part of our culture,” he added.
“It is just as well that each of us is well balanced, has their own security, otherwise we’d end up on the psychiatrist’s couch.
“This season, right from the start, there was an attempt to strike our most representative players.
“Just think back to the summer doubts over Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente who worked like donkeys from the first day of training where people expected them to be instantly bright and responsive.
“Then it was the turn of Andrea Pirlo and Giorgio Chiellini, before it was mine.
“We certainly contributed [to the doubts], but we are talking about players who last year had a busy and stressful season which culminated in the Confederations Cup.”
Buffon has kept a clean sheet in his last three League games against Genoa, Catania and Parma.
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