Despite there being some new runners and riders attempting to overhaul Europe’s glamour clubs in the domestic leagues this year, a look at the top of any of those competitions shows that the powerhouses of the continent will still take some shifting before relinquishing the throne. Yet there is only one unbeaten club side left amongst the top flights of Italy, Germany, Spain, France and England, and that team is marshaled by PUMA stars Buffon and Chiellini.
Buffon, with 112 international caps and nearly 600 club appearances to his name, has long stood amongst the world’s best goalkeepers, with many commentators suggesting that, due to his longevity and consistency, he is head and shoulders above the rest. This is a player, remember, who made his international debut at 19, stayed with his current club side when they were relegated to Italy’s second-tier and has several international and domestic medals to his name.
A hero in Turin for his commanding air, love of the club and impeccable attitude off the field, he was called into action three or four times last night, and dealt with everything thrown at him in his usual athletic and authoratitive manner.
And what of the man in front of him? Boasting 49 international caps and a left-foot superior to any other defender (and plenty of midfielders) in Europe, Chiellini was another player who chose to stay after the drop to the second division. In his case, it was a great move as he was converted from left-back to central defence, where his reading of the game, cultured short and long range passing and speed over the first ten-yards have seen him develop into one of the world’s finest defenders.
With 22 goals in his time at his current club, he is as handy in the opposition box as he is in his own and, without some fine work by the opposition goalkeeper last night, could’ve had a brace.
With the pair in such irresistible form and facing seven consecutive fixtures against teams below them in the league, supporters can rightly be excited about what lies ahead.