Captain Gigi Buffon celebrated joining Italy and Bianconeri legend Dino Zoff on 476 appearances in the black and white stripes with a crucial penalty save in this evening’s 1-0 win over Genoa at the Luigi Ferraris.
The Bianconeri were given one of their toughest tests of the season so far on a difficult night in Liguria, but drew on all their determination to claim an important three points which take them 17 clear of nearest contenders Roma.
Reflecting on the positive message sent out by the team, the 35-year-old began: “The fact we managed to emerge victorious is a point of pride for ourselves, the club and the fans. They’ve seen that when we need to dig deep, we roll up our sleeves and do so. It’s a good sign.”
A sensational penalty save from substitute Emanuele Calaiò provided the platform for the visitors to keep going right until the very end, with Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick rewarding their never say die spirit in the final exchanges.
Explaining his thinking behind the stop, Buffon said: “I would have been in a moment of crisis if Gilardino had stepped up because you never know where he’s going to put it. I drew on an element of instinct, and thankfully it served me well.”
On matchwinner Pirlo, the goalkeeper added: “There’s always hope when you have Andrea on the pitch. He’s one of those players who can make you dream at any given moment when he has the ball at his feet.”
Concluding with a thought on equalling the appearance record of a celebrated club and international legend, Buffon expressed his pleasure at the record coinciding with a joyful occasion.
“It’s gratifying to be up there alongside a mythical figure in international football but it also makes me feel uncomfortable because sometimes you don’t know if you’re worthy. But it’s always nice to seal the achievement with such a good victory.”