Buffon vs Cristiano Ronaldo: A duel worth its weight in gold

Ballon d'Or on offer in Cardiff

Posted Saturday, June 03, 2017 by Marca.com

Buffon vs Cristiano Ronaldo: A duel worth its weight in gold

The scene in Cardiff on Saturday night will be akin to a Spaghetti Western; two foes eyeing each other up, face to face, this time competing for both the biggest team and individual prizes in club football.

On the one side is Gianluigi Buffon, a towering figure on the continent for near enough two decades and a man who the world has decided needs to be amply rewarded for his services to the game by the way of a Ballon d'Or - should Juventus win the Champions League.

This desire did not appear two years ago when the Old Lady lost to Barcelona in Berlin, but with the keeper's retirement date now set this feels like it could be the last chance for a deserving tribute to his abilities.

It's somewhat taken for granted that, despite it being only June, the victor in this showpiece will be the subsequent winner of the prestigious individual honour.

Challenging Buffon's hegemony - the Italian would be lifting the third piece of a treble if Real can be overcome - is Cristiano Ronaldo, a man with a legacy to protect.

The obvious glory of a Champions League title and the successful defence of Madrid's crown is on the winger's mind, but so is Lionel Messi.

That's because triumphs in Europe and the Ballon d'Or would be his fourth and fifth, respectively, and would match the Barcelona maestro's personal tally.

The prospect of future generations hearing of not only how Ronaldo was equal to Messi, but possibly even greater in this regard, cannot be underestimated as a motivational factor.

And who could doubt the Blancos star? Five goals in four games against Buffon's Juventus, five goals in this year's quarter-final, and three in the semi-final make for impressive reading that only a fresh chunk of silver can satisfy on June 3, followed by gold at the year's end.

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