Two fantasisti hailed the greatest.
Speaking ahead of the Italy’s 2014 World Cup campaign, Azzurri captain Gianluigi Buffon has revealed who he believes to be the greatest talent Italian football has produced in the last 25 years.
In an interview with The Guardian’s James Horncastle in Turin, the Juventus stopper touched on numerous subjects, but left little doubt as to which player he credits most for his club side’s outstanding season, comparing him to another playmaking genius who, together, Buffon believes have been Italy’s greatest:
Pirlo is a genius. Together with Baggio, I think he’s the greatest talent that Italian football has produced in the last 25 years.
Whilst Buffon never played with Baggio domestically, he made his Serie A debut against the number 10 as a 17-year old for Parma against AC Milan in 1995 and faced-off against him on numerous occasions until his retirement in 2004.
Returning the talk back to his Juve contemporary, Buffon continued:
You can try and adopt the right countermeasures to contain him [Pirlo]. But you know that in any given moment he can break the bank and everything you thought you knew [about stopping him] is worthless.
Buffon has played with the bearded maestro for the last three seasons at club level, coinciding with La Vecchia Signora winning three Scudetti in a row – something they had not achieved since 1933 – and became the first club side in Serie A history to break the 100 point mark in a single season.
Both players have also served the Azzurri with distinction, together winning the World Cup in 2006 and inspiring Italy to the final of 2012’s European Championships.