Ronaldo, Messi, Zidane, Pirlo and Baggio – Buffon struggles to pick five-a-side teams

Gianluigi Buffon has attempted to draw up various five-a-side teams, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Andrea Pirlo making the grade.

The legendary Juventus goalkeeper has been fortunate enough to have played with and against some iconic figures down the years.

With so much talent from which to select, the 39-year-old has struggled to narrow down the lists to include just five players in each team.

He has, however, given it a go, with the pick of the bunch he has faced in competitive action proving to be very attacked-minded despite the World Cup winner admitting to being “very friendly with defenders and I hate the strikers”.

Buffon told Copa90 on his first five-a-side selection: “I’d say the strongest I’ve played against are Ronaldo – the Brazilian – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane.”

He then moved on to: “After those four I’d talk about my teammates, defenders I’ve played with from [Lilian] Thuram, [Fabio] Cannavaro and [Ciro] Ferrara to [Giorgio] Chiellini, [Andrea] Barzagli, [Leonardo] Bonucci and [Daniele] Rugani.

“To get great results in defence you need human empathy and I’ve always been successful at that. Those are the players who have written the most important history in domestic and international football.”

Gianluigi Buffon Juventus

Buffon has spent 16 years with Juventus, having moved to Turin in a record-breaking €52 million switch from Parma in 2001.

He has won just about every major honour over the course of a distinguished career, with the Champions League crown the grandest of top prizes to have eluded him.

In 2006, he helped Italy to conquer the world and has since taken his remarkable collection of caps to 173 – making him the most decorated European player of all-time and only 11 appearances short of matching Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan at the top of the charts.

Having worked with as many top performers with his country as he has at club level, Buffon once again had plenty of options available to him when picking an Italian five-a-side team.

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He added: “Among the Italians, in terms of talent, I’d have [Andrea] Pirlo, [Francesco] Totti, [Alessandro] Del Piero and Roberto Baggio. At that point, to make it five, I’d have Paolo Maldini.”

Buffon will be hoping to get the opportunity to add to his cap haul over the coming months, with Italy facing a qualification play-off en route to the 2018 World Cup.

If the Azzurri are able to book their ticket to Russia, then that tournament could see the curtain brought down on a modern day hero, with Buffon having hinted at retirement next summer.

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