Gianluigi Buffon says Juventus are eager to see how they measure up against La Liga title holders and Champions League runners-up Atletico Madrid when both teams cross the white line in the Spanish capital tomorrow.
Speaking to the media in Madrid, the captain began: “It’s a fascinating game because it pits two very traditional clubs together, something that perhaps bucks the trend in modern football as many teams have only emerged on the scene in the last few years.
“There’s plenty of enthusiasm in the camp and we’re looking forward to seeing how far we’ve come by testing ourselves against Atletico. They can be a useful yardstick for us.”
The goalkeeper says the Bianconeri will not be found wanting for lack of preparation when it comes to facing the Spanish champions and already has his sights set on a lengthy stay in this year’s competition.
“Atletico are no longer a surprise package: they have won two Europa Leagues, La Liga and are aware of their own strength. We want to pick up from where we left off two years ago against Bayern. It’s important to have at least that as an aim, even if a great deal depends on the luck of the draw.”
When asked for his thoughts on three of his team-mates – Paul Pogba, Alvaro Morata and Fernando Llorente – Buffon, ever the true leader, concluded with words of encouragement for the trio.
“Paul is a top rate talent and if he maintains his focus and desire to enjoy his football, he could become one of the three best ever French players of all time.
“Morata’s talent is unquestionable. He’s already achieved important things in his time at Real Madrid and has been purchased by Juventus, so he’s certainly got a very bright future ahead of him.
“Llorente is a player I’d always want in my team because he’s useful and someone who is appreciated by the group. I would have been happy to see him called up by Spain for the World Cup, but they’ve got so much quality in attack that missing out is no shame.”