As one of the top goalkeepers in the history of the game, Gianluigi Buffon has won essentially everything but the UEFA Champions League.
That’s what makes Saturday’s loss sting so much, as the 39-year-old continues to ply his trade while waging war against the clock of an already elongated career.
Buffon says Juve were prepared to take on Real Madrid, and was left fishing for the reasons of his side’s demise.
Did they run out of gas? Was it an unlucky first half? Or was Real simply that much better of a side?
“We had an excellent first half, where we caused Real Madrid huge problems, so it leaves you open-mouthed in shock that incidents never go our way. That’s disappointing.
“I thought it was a great approach in the first half, not giving Madrid any more advantages, and we ran really hard. Perhaps we ran a bit too hard and didn’t make the most of that advantage on the field. That’s disappointing.
“In the second half their class, strength and how accustomed they are to winning these games showed through. They won deservedly.”
There’s something to that last part, even in translation. Real is accustomed to getting the job done. Mario Mandzukic’s stunning overhead goal might’ve flattened other teams, but Madrid went back to work and simply dominated the second half.
How long does Buffon have left? It’s incredibly difficult to make a deep UCL run, let alone win its crown. Might this be the ageless backstop’s last shot at a major trophy?