At 39 years old, Gianluigi Buffon is the world’s most decorated and celebrated goalkeeper. Given that knowledge, it may surprise you that a Champions League title has eluded him during his 22 years of experience. If Buffon can capture that final crown against Real Madrid on Saturday, it may be an opportune time for the Italian legend to hang up his boots.
With four Italian Cups and eight Serie A titles, Buffon has conquered at nearly every other level of the sport. His international triumph came in 2006, when he anchored Italy to a penalty shootout win in the World Cup final. Italy never won a Euro in his five appearances, but they reached the final in 2012.
After all these years, Buffon is as solid as ever in goal. Juventus allowed just one goal in the knockout stage of Champions League this season, shutting down Europe’s best attacking teams along the way. He is of course helped by a world-class defense, but Buffon saved 21 of 23 shots on goal in this competition this season.
When discussing Saturday’s final, Buffon used a popular f-word amongst aging stars.
“This game is very important to me,” Buffon said during the pre-match press conference. “When I think about this long career, in which I have played many years I am grateful. It would be the perfect final (to win) and people do like fairy-tales.”
Buffon admitted recently that he contemplated retirement during his team’s run to the final, but his decision is far from made. In January his agent denied any retirement buzz, citing that “His objective is the World Cup and then we will see.”
But we do like fairy tales. And if anyone deserves to go out on top, it’s Buffon. Follow the action at the Champions League final right here.