Gianluigi Buffon likened Cristiano Ronaldo to Pele and Diego Maradona after the Portuguese forward condemned him to what could be his final Champions League game in Turin.
Ronaldo’s two goals, including an unstoppable overhead kick, helped Real Madrid to a 3-0 win in the first leg of a quarterfinal tie at the Allianz Stadium.
Buffon, who has yet to announce his plans beyond the end of the current season, could only applaud Ronaldo’s brilliance.
“Once again today, we’ve all seen what he is and what he always has been — an incredible footballer who, together with [Lionel] Messi, is somebody inspiring his own side to the greatest successes, and this means that his value has to be compared with the likes of Maradona and Pele,” Buffon told Mediaset. “He’s one of those players who can have such a huge influence over the number of games and titles their sides win.
“We’re really disappointed because probably we’re not going to make it through now, and this is a huge regret, but it’s also true that when you face opponents like these, you’ve just got to be able to acknowledge that they simply are too good.”
It was Juve’s second heavy defeat to Madrid in less than a year, having lost last season’s final 4-1 in Cardiff, and Buffon said it is not just pure coincidence.
“When you’re playing against incredible players, it’s not like you’re making mistakes [when they score so many] — you may just be a little bit less precise at times — but when you face the best, these things can happen,” he said. “We’re talking about players who can score 500 goals in 10, 12 years of their career — there’s got to be a reason.”
Buffon has said that winning the Champions League would give him a good reason to continue his playing career next season, since it would provide him with the opportunity to play in the Club World Cup.
With a three-goal deficit to turn around at the Santiago Bernabeu next week, that now looks unlikely, and Buffon appeared to be fighting back the tears as he reflected on Tuesday night’s defeat — potentially his last Champions League appearance at the Allianz Stadium.
Kwese Espn Football.