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Buffon is a reference point, Casillas claims



Iker Casillas

REAL Madrid captain Iker Casillas has revealed that he has always viewed Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon as something of a role model.

The two iconic shot-stoppers will go head to head today in the first leg of a Champions League semi-final, which has unsurprisingly sparked a debate over who is the better No.1. Casillas, 33, has admitted that he has always looked up to Buffon, who is four years the Spaniard’s senior.

“Gigi is a reference point for me. Anyone of my generation who dreamt of becoming a goalkeeper had the target of emulating him,” the World Cup winner told Gazzetta dello Sport.

Casillas also confessed his admiration for the 35-year-old Andrea Pirlo, another veteran who remains an integral part of the Italian champions’ midfield. “Andrea is fantastic for everything that he knows how to do with the ball,” the Spain international stated.

“It’s a pleasure for all of us who love football to be able to watch him.” Juve have been compared to Real’s opponents in the quarter-finals, Atletico, whom the Blancos defeated 1-0 on aggregate.

While Casillas is expecting two tight encounters against the Italian titleholders, he feels that Massimiliano Allegri’s men will take the game to the reigning European champions.

“I don’t think Juve are like Atletico,” he added. “They are trying to impose their football on Europe this year, just as they have done in Italy. “I’m expecting two games with few goals but of high tension until the final minute. “Also, while they’re missing [Paul] Pogba, we’re missing (Luka) Modric and (Karim) Benzema, so there’s balance also in terms of the absentees.”

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