Buffon hails Ronaldo, Zlatan, himself after nine-save show

Gianluigi Buffon
Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images
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Gianluigi Buffon is not taking for granted his final days as a player.

The iconic 42-year-old goalkeeper had an exceptional day between the sticks for Juventus in a 1-1 draw with 10-man AC Milan.

Buffon made nine saves against an ascendant and lively Milan, keeping the Old Lady in the Coppa Italia semifinal tie despite conceding a less-than-ideal goal to Ante Rebic.

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The keeper struck a defiant tone in relishing a starring role, and used the opportunity of his turning back to the clock to shower praise on Juve teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

From Football-Italia:

“I have to admit, I smile at this, because so many turned their noses up when Ibrahimovic was coming to Milan, but at the age of 38, he is making the difference. When it comes to players, you have to analyze them individually and not just as a birthdate. I am very happy for him, he is an extraordinary champion.”

On Ronaldo, Buffon said, “One of the reasons I returned to Juventus was the opportunity to play and train with Cristiano Ronaldo and every day is a revelation.”

Milan’s Daniel Maldini was an unused sub on the day, but the 18-year-old featured in Buffon’s plans.

Buffon traded jerseys with the teenager, just as he did with his father Paolo Maldini. He noted that he’s also traded jerseys with George and Timothy Weah, Lilian and Marcus Thuram,and Enrico and Federico Chiesa.

When he finally does retire, he may leave with the title of the most Interesting Footballer in the World.