Football

Gianluigi Buffon saves last-minute penalty against Fiorentina.

Gianluigi Buffon saves last-minute penalty against Fiorentina

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Gianluigi Buffon turned 38 in January but the Italian veteran remains one of the world’s best goalkeepers.

He set a new Serie A record in March for the highest number of minutes without conceding a goal - a hugely impressive 974 - and on Sunday he produced a remarkable last-minute penalty save against Fiorentina to help Juventus maintain their 12-point lead at the top of the table.

Diving low to his left, Buffon guessed right to deny Croatia international Nikola Kalinić, who had netted Fiorentina’s only goal of the match eight minutes earlier. (Scroll down this page to watch Buffon’s penalty save).

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Thanks to Buffon’s last-gasp save, Juventus have effectively wrapped up the Serie A title for the fifth successive season.

The only way they will fail to win the league is if they lose all three of their remaining fixtures and second-placed Napoli win all four of theirs.

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Video: Gianluigi Buffon's penalty save

Match-winner Alvaro Morata hails 'superman' Buffon

Alvaro Morata scored the all-important winning goal for the Old Lady in the 83rd minute but, rather than praising his own contribution, the Spanish striker hailed the team’s legendary goalkeeper for his heroics.

“We ultimately won thanks to a save from a player who, when you see things like that, just can't be human! He is superhuman to save that penalty,” Morata told Mediaset Premium, per the Daily Mail, following the game.

“It was important to win at a stadium where they really don't like us very much.

“It's wonderful to score in these colours and now all focus is on winning the Scudetto.

ACF Fiorentina v Juventus FC - Serie A

“Fiorentina showed what a great side they are, but we too demonstrated just how difficult we are to beat when we play this way until the very end.”

Buffon currently has a year left to run on his contract with Juventus, but it would come as no surprise if he plays on into his early 40s.

After breaking the Serie A record last month, Buffon confirmed in a heartfelt letter to the goal he defends that he has no desire to quit football just yet.

Buffon's heartfelt letter to the goal he defends

"I was 12 when I turned my back on you, denying my past to guarantee you a safe future,” Buffon wrote, per the Independent. “I went with my heart

“I went with my instinct

“But the day I stopped looking you in the face is also the day that I started to love you

“To protect you

“To be your first and last line of defence

“I promised myself that I would do everything not to see your face again. Or that I would do it as little as possible. It was painful every time I did, turning round and realising I had disappointed you.

“Again

“And again.

“We have always been opposites yet we are complementary, like the sun and the moon. Forced to live side by side without being able to touch. Team-mates for life, a life in which we are denied all contact

“More than 25 years ago I made my vow: I swore to protect you. Look after you. A shield against all your enemies. I’ve always thought about your welfare, putting it first even ahead of my own.

“I was 12 when I turned my back on my goal. And I will keep doing it as long as my legs, my head and my heart will allow.”

Is Gianluigi Buffon the best goalkeeper of his generation? Better than Iker Casillas and Edwin van der Sar? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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Topics:
Paul Pogba
Football
Serie A
UEFA Champions League
Italy Football

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