He might be getting on in years, but he’s still too damn good
Fairness and sportsmanship are the foundation of honest competition at all levels. With this in mind, UEFA must require Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to play all matches while wearing a blindfold in the name leveling the playing field for the poor souls who must face him.
With Juve’s 2–0 win at Monaco in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal, Buffon now has 60 clean sheets in 100 career Champions League appearances. He hasn’t conceded a single goal from open play in the Champions League this season. And Juve haven’t conceded a Champions League goal of any kind in 621 minutes and counting. Again, they’re not doing this in a hastily arranged tournament against their younger cousins at a family reunion—this is the Champions League. Juventus are facing the best of the best, and still Buffon is allowing less people to score than the Pope at an orgy for divorcees who are into butt stuff.
People often say that Lionel Messi is from another planet—his talent far beyond that of a mere mortal. And yet, he has never once scored against Buffon, even as the Italian keeper nears his 40th birthday. If Messi can’t even score against Buffon, how could anyone else hope to do so?
Clearly something needs to be done and eliminating Buffon’s ability to see anything around him during matches is a start. Then again, it’s extremely possible that he has a Jedi-like spatial perception that allows him to react to shots on goal without using his eyes. In this case, UEFA should force him to get blackout drunk just before kickoff. It’s the only way.
Even more astonishing than his unparalleled talent, however, is the fact that Buffon has never won the Champions League in his long and successful career. Perhaps this is evidence of Buffon’s charitable side. “I’ll take the World Cup, seven Serie A titles, a Serie B title just for giggles, and three Coppa Italia trophies, and leave the Champions League to the rest of you jabronis for a while.”
But with the team Juventus have assembled in front of him, this seems very likely to end soon. After the first leg in Monaco, Buffon commented to Juventus’ official website about this quality and shared some insight into his thoughts on retirement, which probably won’t come until he’s 112 years old and only recording a clean sheet 59 out of every 100 Champions League appearances.
“My objective is for people to think it’s a shame when I retire. That’s why I’m still working so hard. Obviously it helps to play for a team like this, because it makes me happy and there’s nothing better than working in such a positive environment.”
At this rate, his opponents aren’t going to think “what a shame” when he retires, though. They’re going to think, “Thank the merciful lord he’s finally gone” and “What did any of us ever do to deserve the torment of facing him for so long?!”