“There is something special and it’s difficult to describe it, but he’s a player who can inspire those around him,” said Hugo, as we prepare to face Buffon and his serial Serie A title-winners in a friendly at Wembley Stadium, connected by EE, on Saturday.
Words of praise indeed from the captain of Spurs and France.
It’s no surprise though. A look at Buffon’s career says all you need to say about one of the great goalkeepers of all-time. Making his debut aged 17 at Parma in 1995, Buffon spent five years at Stadio Ennio Tardini before his switch to Juventus in 2001.
Sixteen seasons later, aged 39, he’s still going strong. He’s won everything in Italy including a record six-successive Serie A titles and no end of personal awards, including being named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year 11 times. He’s also been capped 169 times by Italy and lifted the World Cup in 2006. The only thing missing is the Champions League with Juve beaten three times in the final – Milan (2003), Barca (2015) and Real Madrid in June.
Below: Hugo and Buffon
Hugo, 30, added: “Juventus have had so many legendary players and there is still one there in Gianlugi Buffon.
“When I was younger I was completely a fan. He’s the kind of player who can inspire you and when I was 15, 16, that kind of player and Iker Cassilas as well, they both started so young and that was an inspiration for me. I wanted to start young as well and that’s what I did.
“After 16 seasons (at Juve) he shows he has the same ambition and motivation as in the past. To stay at the top at that age means you have to work harder than others and that’s why he’s the best. In terms of longevity, it’s amazing what he’s done.”
Spurs v Juventus, Wembley Stadium, Saturday 5 August (5.30pm KO) - BUY TICKETS HERE - ADULTS FROM £24, JUNIORS FROM £14...