Football

Gianluigi Buffon.

Comparing Buffon's first UCL final XI vs current Juventus side

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Gianluigi Buffon is great, isn't he? Not only has he been around for what feels like forever being the best goalkeeper in the world on such a highly consistent basis, but he's just the coolest person, too.

Throughout the course of his long and storied career, he has won virtually everything there is to win in the game, from countless Serie A titles to the World Cup. However, the one that has eluded him is the Champions League.

He has a chance to correct that this weekend at the age of 39 as his Juventus side travel to Cardiff to take on Real Madrid in what will be the Spanish side's third final in five years, making the Serie A champions the underdogs.

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Buffon came close once before, in 2003. His Juve side were beaten on British soil that time by fellow Italian giants AC Milan, who dispatched the Turin side 3-2 on penalties after a goalless draw in 120 minutes of action.

Both the side that took part then and his current set of teammates are two supremely talented teams, but who had the stronger line up?

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Below we line both sides up and see where Buffon's best chances come from. You could argue that facing the Milan side of 2003 is very much like facing the Real side of today, but were his 2003 counterparts more talented?

GK: Buffon - Obviously.

RB: Lillian Thuram/Dani Alves

Though Alves is deployed in more of a wing-back role under Max Allegri, Thuram could feature either in the middle or on the right side of the defence. It's a tough call, but the Frenchman just about edges it for his class and superior defensive work.

Winner: Lillian Thuram

FBL-ITA-CUP-JUVENTUS-LAZIO

CB: Igor Tudor/Giorgio Chiellini

Tudor may not have been world class, but he served the Old Lady with distinction for 11 years. However, Chiellini is in a different class. 

Winner: Giorgio Chiellini

CB: Ciro Ferrara/Leonardo Bonucci

At the moment, Bonucci is one of football's most sought-after defenders but he still isn't mentioned in the same breath as Ferrara, who was a legend for both club and country.

Winner: Ciro Ferrara

LB: Paolo Montero/Alex Sandro

Montero is another player who doesn't get much of a mention despite spending 11 years with the club. Sandro has a long way to go to have the kind of career Montero enjoyed, but on ability alone he sneaks in.

Winner: Sandro

Edgar Davids of Juventus and Giovanni Tedesco of Perugia

CM: Edgar Davids/Claudio Marchisio

Make no mistake, Marchisio is a terrific player, but it's got to be Davids all day long.

Winner: Edgar Davids

CM: Alessio Tacchinardi/ Sami Khedira

Tacchinardi was a very good player, but isn't a patch on Khedira. The German has won more trophies and had greater success at international level.

Winner: Sami Khedira

LM: Mauro Camoranesi/Miralem Pjanic

The way the two sides line(d) up doesn't give the match up a fair look, but with the honours Camoranesi has under his belt you'd have to think that'd put him ahead.

Winner: Mauro Camoranesi

RM: Gianluca Zambrotta/ Juan Cuadrado

Is this even a contest. Zambrotta every time.

Winner: Gianluca Zambrotta

David Trezeguet of Juventus holds off a challenge from Ivan Helguera of Real Madrid

ST: David Trezeguet/Gonzalo Higuain

This is an interesting battle as there was actually some crossover between them. Both have proved they could do it in Argentina but Trezeguet's brilliance outweighs anything Higuain can offer.

Winner: David Trezeguet

ST: Alessandro Del Piero/Paulo Dybala

It might be a little harsh on Dybala for him to come up against a legend like Del Piero, but to exclude the veteran would be criminal. Dybala is destined to become a legend in his own right, but right now he's well behind the former Italian international.

Winner: Alessandro Del Piero

So seven out of the original 2003 line up have made it in compared to the three of the present stars. Together they make a pretty strong side and if Chiellini, Sandro and Khedira had been born in a different generation, perhaps Buffon would already have his winners medal.

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Topics:
AC Milan
Juventus
Paulo Dybala
Serie A
Gianluigi Buffon
UEFA Champions League
Football
Edgar Davids

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