Sunday March 16 2014
Buffon: 'Always hope with Pirlo'

Gianluigi Buffon saved a penalty on the day he matched Dino Zoff’s tally and said “there’s always hope with Andrea Pirlo.”

The Juventus goalkeeper helped secure the 1-0 victory in Genoa when he parried an Emanuele Calaiò spot-kick, then Pirlo curled in a last-minute free kick.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm around this victory because in all honesty we didn’t really hope we’d win it by that stage,” confessed Buffon on Sky Sport Italia.

“Did I have hope when I saw Pirlo on the free kick? Of course, there’s always hope when Pirlo’s on the ball, even if he’s in my penalty area. He’s one of those players who can change a game.

“It makes us very proud to have won this game and we hope the fans and club can be proud too, as we proved this team knows how to suffer under pressure and roll their sleeves up.

“Is it another brick in the wall of the Scudetto? More than a brick I’d call it a landslide!”

The shot-stopper admitted he was relieved that Calaiò took the penalty after Alberto Gilardino had been substituted.

“I thought Gila was going to take it and you never know how he takes penalties, so I would’ve been in trouble! Fortunately he went off and I had to face a different player.

“I think it’s a wonderful day for me and for the team. Whoever wrote this script did a great job,” he grinned.

This evening Buffon made his 476th appearance for Juventus in all competition, matching the tally of legendary goalkeeper Dino Zoff.

“It feels strange to be placed alongside Zoff, as he is a legend of the sport all over the world and especially for players in my position.

“This makes me realise how far I’ve come, but it also leaves me uneasy, because I don’t feel worthy of being compared with Zoff.”

He also performed a crucial save on Andrea Bertolacci and explained he forced the Genoa man to miss.

“I usually stand my ground and stay on my feet as long as possible in a one-on-one situation, so I make it as difficult as I can for the opposition to score. It looked as if he fired it straight at me, but I forced his hand.”

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