Juventus face Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final this year, with goalkeeper Gianlugi Buffon aiming to set a new record.
If Juventus win, 39-year old Buffon would become the oldest winner ever of Europe’s most valuable trophy.
The record currently belongs to Paolo Maldini, who won the Champions League with AC Milan in 2007 at the age of 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.”
Buffon will have the Herculean task of having to stop Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, a 4-time Ballon D’Or winner.
“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.”
With the final being played at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff, Wales, welsh fans are hopeful of seeing country legend Gareth Bale make an appearance.
The Real Madrid winger has been injured for about 2 months now, and his position may be taken by Isco.
“Isco and Bale are two players who can also play together,” Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said Friday. “In the long run, anything can happen. When I look at my squad, what’s good is that they’re all ready and willing to play. It’s not only mentally, of course. They have to be ready physically, too. That’s what I’m interested in right now — everyone in good shape and at a high level.”
Juventus, on their part, is preparing to deal for whoever plays, according to coach Massimiliano Allegri.
“Bale’s very fast, has great speed and in open field he’s devastating,” Allegri said. “In three passes, he can take it from one end of the pitch to the other. Isco is less predictable than Bale but he gives Madrid less defensive order. … Isco has had a great season and has grown a lot and makes Real Madrid more difficult to read.”
The match kicks off at 7:45pm, and will be preceded by a musical performance from The Black Eyed Peas.
“There’s a lot of eyeballs, a lot of football fans,” singer Will.i.am said. “And hopefully we could bring a lot of music fans to watch us, too.”