Gianluigi Buffon has lifted the lid on whether he considers himself to be the best goalkeeper of all-time as he trains one eye on retirement.
The Juventus and Italy legend could end up calling time on his glittering playing career if I Bianconeri fail to win the Champions League this season, and the debate about his place in the footballing pantheon has already begun in earnest.
Speaking at FIFA's 'The Best' Awards ceremony in London on Monday (via Football Italia), Buffon was asked if he thought he would go down in history as the best keeper to have ever played the game - and his response was typically humble in nature.
He said: “I like the idea, but I am not someone who can support that and celebrate myself. Everyone can choose the best - for someone I might be, for someone else I might not.
“In my case the career and numbers of course tell a lot, but at this level facts are facts and words count for nothing.
“I never look back at my past. I know what I’ve done, and have great respect for it. It’s always in my heart, but I’m always living in the present and possibly the future.
“I prefer to be focused on the present. If I think about the past too much it makes me a little sad, because I can count how many years have passed, and remember some emotions that can’t be lived again."
Buffon's career has now spanned 21-years and, after he picked up the 'Best Goalkeeper' gong at the awards bash, he explained why being a shot stopper was such an important role to fill on the pitch.
He added: “Our position is fundamental on the pitch. We can be decisive in a win or in a defeat.
“All in all we are as important as a striker that scores goals. We feel the responsibility to fill an important position on the pitch and all our play can be very positive or very negative during a game.
“Everyone who watches the game can easily notice it, so a goalkeeper's performance can heavily influence results."