Veteran keeper, Gianluigi Buffon has stated that winning this year's Champions League with Juventus, único trofeo que se le resiste, "would be the greatest joy of my career" alongside lifting the World Cup with Italy at Germany 2006.
Juventus go into tomorrow's semi-final second leg with a 0-2 advantage over Monaco and Buffon feels that he is closer than ever to returning to a European final although he warned that the return leg in Turin won't be a walkover. "Around the half hour mark of their match away at Manchester City, I sent a message to one of our directors, saying: "Hey, this lot could make it to the final; they're really strong!" That shows you how much respect we have for them. They play positive, energetic football and they're a sparkling, physical side with quality players and a lot of experience".
Buffon's lengthy career
Gigi also spoke about staying in the game as he reaches his twilight years, and that image of him patting Kylian Mbappé on the head after denying the Monaco forward inlast week's first leg. "Mbappé was born in December 1998. I had already played at the World Cup in France by then! That's the nice thing about having such a long career: meeting kids who weren't even born when you already had a chunk of your career under your belt.
"I'll finish with guys born in the 2000s. It's a huge span of time! It's nice knowing that I'm playing with the future Messis, Cristiano Ronaldos and Neymars, because in ten years, after I have been retired for a while, they will be confirmed superstars and I'll remember facing them when they were just starting out".
Slippery Champions League
The keeper has had two shots at winning the Champions League and ended on the losing side on both occasions against AC Milan in 2003 and then Barcelona in 2015. "Losing on penalties in 2003 was very painful, but as I was only 25, I was quite calm because I was convinced I'd win many more! After the return leg against Barcelona this season I was very happy, of course, but I did not celebrate too much, because I know that after reaching a certain point you either go on to win the trophy or get disappointed. And since I have been disappointed so many times, I want to get the victory first before allowing myself to celebrate!
"It would mean a lot for me. It would be the greatest joy of my career, together with the World Cup, because it would almost be a reward – the end of a very difficult road paved by bravery, stubbornness and hard work. I have always wanted to win it and I have always been convinced that I can do it together with my team, the fans, my colleagues. That would be great – we can talk about it later if it happens!"