Italy and Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon has heaped praise on Tottenham's Harry Kane hailing the England international as a natural goalscorer who is amongst the top five strikers he has faced in his illustrious career.
The 40-year-old is set to retire in the summer, unless he secures the Champions League title for the first time in his career. However, Juventus are set to face Kane's Tottenham in the last-16 in February and Buffon is evidently looking forward to the test.
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With 56 goals to his name in the calendar year Kane has outscored the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and Buffon claims the 24-year-old deserves to be compared with the leading talents across world football.
Buffon said, via the Mirror: “Harry is now one of the best strikers in Europe – there is no question about that. As a player, you can always work on parts of your game and try to improve – but there are some things you can’t teach.
“That natural goalscoring instinct is for me a talent that you are born with. I have seen over the years with Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo, [Filippo] Inzaghi, [Gabriel] Batistuta, they have that natural instinct that can really make goalkeepers suffer – and it’s clear Kane also has that.
“Always in my career I have wanted to test myself against the best – and now Harry Kane is one of the best. I have always had the attitude that I don’t fear the best – I respect them – and I always want to play against them.
"That is one of the greatest challenges of playing at the highest level, to test yourself against the best players – that is always something I have enjoyed.”
Following Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup next summer Buffon retired from international football and he is "99.9 per-cent certain" that he will call time on his club career, a decision which will only be swayed by Juventus qualifying for the Club World Cup next season following a Champions League triumph.
However, the Italian outfit face a hurdle in the shape of Kane and Spurs, a tie Buffon is wary of as he added: “They are going to be two hard games against Tottenham – we know that. Kane will be a big threat but they are not just Kane.
“As always, it is my dream to win the Champions League – I don’t allow it to be a pressure – but it still remains a big ambition.”