Juventus and Italy great Gianluigi Buffon continues to stand strong, driven by finally landing the crown that has eluded him the UEFA Champions League.
Buffon isn’t exactly going to end up looking back at his career and wondering what might have been.
The 39-year-old has lifted the Serie A title nine times with Juventus (though two were later rescinded), the World Cup and also the UEFA Cup back when he was a Parma player, but there is still a gap on that illustrious CV of his. A gap reserved for the Champions League trophy.
He’s never won it during a 22-year career at the top level, but after Juventus’s 2-0 victory over Monaco in their semi-final first leg on Wednesday night, the prospect of this finally being his year came sharply into focus.
Buffon has admitted that he thought about retiring from the game before his club side rolled over Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals.
The Old Lady beat the Spanish giants 3-0 in the first leg in Turin before holding on for a resilient 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp, with 39-year-old Buffon keeping a remarkable two clean sheets over both ties.
And Buffon – who has played for Juve since 2001 – has said that made a promise to himself that he would bow out at the top, if he did not concede against the likes of Lionel Messi.
‘I said that if I could not concede a single goal over both legs of the tie against Barcelona, it would be the right thing to retire from the game in June – and I said that to [Juventus president, Giovanni] Agnelli’, Buffon told Sky Sport.
However, Buffon admitted that he took Agnelli’s advice, who simply responded: ‘Sometimes people talk a lot of nonsense; don’t worry about anything and keep looking forward.’
Juventus closed in on a second Champions League final in three seasons as Gonzalo Higuain struck twice to beat Monaco in the semi-final first leg