Juve keeper Buf­fon to use his old magic in bid to un­set­tle Real?

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JU­VEN­TUS goal­keeper Gian­luigi Buf­fon has ex­pe­ri­enced more or less ev­ery­thing in his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer but says he still feels fear ahead of to­day’s Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal against Real Madrid.

Buf­fon, 39, will be­come the old­est player to win the Cham­pi­ons League if he fi­nally gets his hands on the tro­phy in the Welsh cap­i­tal and will be spurred on by the heartache of los­ing two pre­vi­ous fi­nals.

Much will de­pend on the per­for­mance of the 2006 World Cup win­ner who will be in the crosshairs of a deadly Real at­tack spear­headed by Cris­tiano Ron­aldo – the only player to score over 100 goals in the com­pe­ti­tion.

“It’s the kind of fear you need to have when you play this kind of game,” he said.

“You need to find courage to beat this fear and I gen­er­ally man­age to do so. That’s why I feel much stronger than peo­ple who say they are never scared.

“We will play the game with con­fi­dence. We just want to have no re­grets at the fi­nal whis­tle.”

Buf­fon has been the last line of a Juve de­fence that con­ceded only three times en route to the fi­nal – the low­est to­tal since Ar­se­nal ar­rived at the show­piece game against Barcelona in 2006 hav­ing let in two goals.

Ar­se­nal lost to Barcelona on that oc­ca­sion but Buf­fon is de­ter­mined to fi­nally add the miss­ing medal to his col­lec­tion which in­cludes mul­ti­ple Se­rie A ti­tles with Juve.

“I have al­ways main­tained that, in foot­ball, mak­ing the fi­nal means noth­ing if you don’t win it,” Buf­fon said.

“I don’t look at the Cham­pi­ons League as the tro­phy that evades me – but, yes, it is a big dream for me to win it.

“Af­ter the de­feat to Barcelona in the fi­nal, two years ago, many peo­ple thought I would never have an­other chance, but I al­ways be­lieved that, if we worked hard, I would get an­other op­por­tu­nity – and this time we must make it count.”

Buf­fon will be 39 years, 126 days old to­day, whereas fel­low Ital­ian great Paolo Mal­dini was 38 years, 331 days when he skip­pered Mi­lan to vic­tory against Liver­pool in 2007.

Hun­gar­ian great Ferenc Puskas was 39 years and 39 days old when he helped Real Madrid win the Euro­pean Cup in 1966.

Ju­ven­tus coach Massimiliano Allegri says his team need to be “fiendish” to beat Real Madrid to­day.

Allegri, whose team are play­ing in their sec­ond fi­nal in three years af­ter los­ing to Barcelona in 2015, said Real start as favourites but his team were ca­pa­ble of pulling off a sur­prise.

“We have worked hard all year and the wins this sea­son have been all about reach­ing this game.

“But (to­day) we need to win and we need to un­der­stand when will be the mo­ments to at­tack and when to de­fend,” Allegri told a news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

“We have to have the be­lief that we can bring that Cup home and we have to be fiendish to strike when Real of­fer us an open­ing,” he added.

“Two fi­nals in three years is an im­por­tant step but it is not enough. We have to win and we must be tough, tech­ni­cally and tac­ti­cally. We aren’t here to visit Cardiff – we came here to win and take that tro­phy back home,” he added.

“In 2015 we got to the fi­nal and de­served it but per­haps we didn’t feel con­fi­dent enough be­cause we had come out of a num­ber of years of struggling in the Cham­pi­ons League.

“We didn’t ex­pect to win but now it is dif­fer­ent. – Reuters

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