UCL Final: Buffon Looks To Become Oldest Winner
Gianluigi Buffon has collected every major prize in club soccer, except the Champions League.
Time is ticking for the Juventus goalkeeper to complete the set.
If the 39-year-old Buffon finally lifts the European Cup on Saturday following a Juventus victory over Real Madrid, he would become the competition's oldest champion.
For a decade, that record has been held by Paolo Maldini, a winner with AC Milan at age 38.
"It would be great joy," Buffon said Friday inside the Millennium Stadium. "There's nothing better in life than getting your reward, because you know how hard you've worked, how much you've sweated for it, and with teammates who've worked even more to get it."
The top priority is likely to be stopping Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, whose 10 European goals this season have made him the all-time leading scorer in the Champions League with 103.
For all Buffon has achieved in soccer, including a World Cup win with Italy in 2006, he's never won the world player of the year title — unlike Ronaldo.
"I'm not that conceited," Buffon said, when asked about challenging Ronaldo for the game's top individual accolade. "I wouldn't dream of putting myself on the same pedestal as Cristiano. We have completely different roles. Mine is to defend, his is to attack. We're complete opposites.
"All I can do is try to not concede goals, but he is able to determine the outcome of a match much more. I'm pleased the media tend to see tomorrow's game as a battle between me and Cristiano, but it's not the reality."
Buffon remains the world's most expensive goalkeeper. Juventus paid Parma 53 million euros (then $44.8 million) for him 16 years ago — a fee that's yet to be eclipsed for another goalkeeper.