Best Of The Best

Buffon's best of the best

The celebrated Italian goalkeeper looks back on a long career at three different clubs to choose his favourite places, incidents and matches from the Champions League

WORDS Paolo Menicucci | PORTRAIT Michael Regan

Best Champions League save

It was probably against Lyon in 2016. The Lyon forward Nabil Fekir turned quickly and shot. I think it took a deflection off Leonardo Bonucci from four metres out, but I had the instinct to turn it over the bar.


Best save in a Champions League final

The one against Inzaghi [in 2003] is one of the saves that should be put in an archive with a bright red circle, because it was special. And the one from Dani Alves in the final against Barcelona [in 2015] was not usual either. It was also important, at the time, because if Dani had scored it would’ve been 2-0, and I think the game would’ve been over already after a few minutes.

Penalty Pedigree

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Best Champions League save

It was probably against Lyon in 2016. The Lyon forward Nabil Fekir turned quickly and shot. I think it took a deflection off Leonardo Bonucci from four metres out, but I had the instinct to turn it over the bar.


Best save in a Champions League final

The one against Inzaghi [in 2003] is one of the saves that should be put in an archive with a bright red circle, because it was special. And the one from Dani Alves in the final against Barcelona [in 2015] was not usual either. It was also important, at the time, because if Dani had scored it would’ve been 2-0, and I think the game would’ve been over already after a few minutes.

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Best Champions League moment

Certainly the 2002/03 season. I think I had a sensational campaign, so much so that I was named as the best player in the competition, and I don’t think that’s happened often for a goalkeeper. That was an accolade which made me really proud. There was also the quarter-final against Barcelona in 2017, when we managed to avoid conceding in either leg. At that time, to not concede against Barcelona, especially over two games, was remarkable.


Best Champions League stadium

Anfield is definitely the one that shocked me the most. For the first 15 minutes, I felt disorientated. I’m a goalkeeper who talks a lot with my defenders, but there it was impossible to speak with anyone because the noise was so deafening that no one could hear you, even if they were a metre away. The only other stadium in which I experienced the same atmosphere was Ibrox, the home of Glasgow Rangers. It’s really exhilarating because it’s like you’re walking out as gladiators with the entire crowd spurring you on. It’s fantastic. 

Best opponent

When you’re lucky enough to play for 25 years… I’ve honestly gone through three generations of great football players. I remember I started out by saving two penalties against Dortmund, from Andreas Möller and Stéphane Chapuisat. Then I went through Ronaldo – Il Fenomeno. Then there was Zidane, then Henry. There was Alan Shearer, who perhaps some young people struggle to remember, but he was a really strong player. There was Ronaldinho, Figo, there was Raúl; that was also a crazily good era. Roberto Carlos. Milan with Shevchenko, Rui Costa, Pirlo. I would honestly be committing a disrespectful sin against the history of this great competition to single out one player.

Best Champions League save

It was probably against Lyon in 2016. The Lyon forward Nabil Fekir turned quickly and shot. I think it took a deflection off Leonardo Bonucci from four metres out, but I had the instinct to turn it over the bar.


Best save in a Champions League final

The one against Inzaghi [in 2003] is one of the saves that should be put in an archive with a bright red circle, because it was special. And the one from Dani Alves in the final against Barcelona [in 2015] was not usual either. It was also important, at the time, because if Dani had scored it would’ve been 2-0, and I think the game would’ve been over already after a few minutes.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.