Elusive Champions League trophy is what drives milestone-clearing Buffon
Juventus is closer to a sixth straight Scudetto after beating Sampdoria 1-0 thanks to Juan Cuadrado’s first-half goal. "L’uovo di Colombia," Colombia’s egg, is how he was charmingly described by Tuttosport. It was the third time Cuadrado has scored this season in a 1-0 win for the Bianconeri (the others were against Lyon and Inter Milan). It wasn't all good news for Juventus, as star forward Paulo Dybala limped out of the game, but coach Max Allegri warned against it being considered too serious.
The historic moment of the match, though, came after 65 minutes, which is when 39-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon became the Juventus player with the most Serie A minutes to his name, surpassing Giampiero Boniperti’s 56-year-old record of 39,680 minutes. Buffon now has 39,706. It seems incredible that the Italian goalkeeper has never won the Champions League, though he reached the final in 2003, losing on penalties to AC Milan, and 2015, when Juve lost to Barcelona.
The Champions League draw has paired Juventus with Barcelona again, and this time there is every chance of revenge. The Italian side has been built to compete in Europe, and with Gonzalo Higuain, Dani Alves and Dybala, it is arguably stronger than it was two years ago. Buffon believes his Champions League record is what has kept him going for so long.
“For years, I have wondered what pushes me to keep playing. This inner battle gives me stronger motivation. If I had won the Champions League I would be empty: the thought spurs me on,” he told Kicker last week. “A goalkeeper must be a masochist. As a role, it’s like the referee. He has the power to command, but can only concede goals, cannot score, and must endure constant insults.”