Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon are two protagonists of 21st century football. The two goalkeepers have formed part of the furniture for the best part of two decades, and have a clear mutual respect having faced each other on 18 occasions. Casillas confessed in an interview with La Gazzette dello Sport, that he will be conflicted when Juventus and Real Madrid meet in the Champions League final in Cardiff.
Casillas venerates Buffon
The two players have had differing fortunes in the Champions League. Casillas has lifted the trophy three times, while Buffon, despite having competed in Europe’s top competition 13 times, has been unable to get his hands on the silverware.
“If Real Madrid weren’t playing, I would wish with all my heart that he [Buffon] would win the Champions League,” commented Casillas, “Obviously I’m a Real Madrid fan, but Gigi’s career shouldn’t end without a Champions League. He has won pretty much everything, and it’s the trophy he’s missing.”
"Buffon's career shouldn't finish without a Champions League"
The ex-Madrid ‘keeper believes that Buffon’s recent success is welcome for the elder statesmen of the goalkeeping game. “He has had a brilliant season, he’s in another final, and for us, ‘the old boys’, I’m thinking about me, Cech… It’s a positive thing.
“He is showing that at 39 years old, you can still be well, and be competitive. Maybe he can win the Ballon D’or, but for a goalkeeper that’s complicated.”
Real Madrid and Juventus match to be tight
Casilla foresees a tight match in Cardiff, and added that Juventus are a team that “has always, always been strong defensively, and now they’re also strong in attack.
“With Higuaín, Dybala, and Mandzukic, they have a dangerous attack. Madrid are also very strong up front, with Ronaldo sensational as ever, but defensively they’re not flawless.”
Iker Casillas looks set to leave Porto at the end of his current contract, with Liverpool thought to be among potential suitors.