04 Sep 2013 - in: Other competitions

Buffon nears legendary Azzurri landmark

Gianluigi Buffon will draw level with all-time Italy appearance record holder Fabio Cannavaro if he features in the Azzurri’s World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic on Monday

Gianluigi Buffon will equal his old Juventus team-mate Fabio Cannavaro’s record of 136 international appearances for Italy if, as expected, he is included in Cesare Prandelli’s starting line-up against Czech Republic on Monday 9 September.

And fate has it that he will do so at Juventus Stadium of all places, his home for the past two seasons and hosting the Azzurri in an international game for the very first time.

Such a historic achievement would give most people goosebumps, but not the Bianconeri goalkeeper, who is by now more than used to extraordinary feats.

The 35-year-old explained: “It would represent a special achievement, but not necessarily something unthinkable seeing as I started playing for the national team very early.

“It’s a wonderful feeling, because I’ve had 16 incredible years, even though I suffered an injury that could have changed a lot of things. I believe that I’ve done well over the years and always been determined to keep pushing myself.”

He continued: “Of all the Italy matches I’ve played, I can tell you that the last hundred have not just been games of football but much more than that: they have been played with passion, spirit, emotion, the sense of responsibility that comes from representing your country and the desire to make our fans happy.”

Moving on to the subject of Juventus, Buffon confirmed his satisfaction with the winning start the Bianconeri side he captains have made to the season.

He concluded: “We are continuing to develop, thanks to our manager, our own dedication and the club’s efforts in the transfer market.

“We’re confident in being able to compete for top honours, but we’re also aware that there are three or four teams stronger than us in Europe and that we’ll have to remain on our guard in Serie A as well.”