Football will definitely be a darker place the day Gianluigi Buffon hangs up his gloves.
That day is coming, with the 2018 World Cup in Russia set to be the Italian’s final swan song from professional football.
By losing against Real Madrid back in May, Buffon extended his winless run of Champions League finals to three matches and he has since revealed that the only thing that will stop him retiring next year will be going one step further in the CL this season.
If there was one man who has deserved to claim the top prize in European football based on their career achievements alone, it’s Buffon.
The 39-year-old has been at the top of the game for two decades now and has come face-to-face with some of the very best strikers to grace the game.
In a recent interview with Spanish publication Marca, Buffon was asked which one of those fearful front men had actually caused him the most problems.
Would it Lionel Messi? Would it be Cristiano Ronaldo? Would it be someone like Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Thierry Henry?
No, no, no and no.
Instead, the Juventus keeper admitted it was actually Ronaldo (the original) who often kept him the busiest.
“The striker who caused me all kinds [of trouble] was Ronaldo, the Brazilian one,” Buffon said.
“He was the perfect player, as he had power, speed, intuition technical skills and quickness. He was a jaw-dropping player. It seemed like he was created in a lab.”
Hard to argue with that. On his day, the former Real Madrid and Inter Milan striker was impossible to keep quiet. It was just a shame injuries hampered so much of his time as a player.
Looking ahead, Buffon also spoke about the prospect of retiring and although he is yet to make any post-football plans, the 2006 World Cup winner did rule out going into management.
He added: “I’m not scared [about retirement] because I love life. I owe a lot to football because it has allowed me to experience incredible emotions.
“I know the future will be nice, although I don’t know exactly how, given that I’m focussed on the present.
“No, I’m not attracted to that idea [being a coach] right now because it is a difficult and stressful job.”