Veteran Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon admits Monaco will have youth on their side when the teams meet in the Champions League semi-finals.
The success of Leonardo Jardim’s side has been in no small part down to the accomplished performances of a host of young players, not least 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe, who has scored five goals in this year’s competition.
Juve enter Wendesday’s first leg as favourites given their greater experience among Europe’s elite, but the Turin club’s average age of 30 in the second leg of their quarter-final victory over Barcelona stands five years higher than that of Monaco in their last-eight clash with Borussia Dortmund.
“If Monaco are there it’s because they deserve to be,” Buffon, 39, told a news conference. “I think it will be an even match.
“I think that experience is in our favour but they have a young and vibrant team. They have the insouciance and enthusiasm of youth.
“When you’re young, and I remember this from my career, you feel indestructible. They have got past top teams on their way here.
“Monaco play with swagger and are very unpredictable. With [Radamel] Falcao and Mbappe they are dangerous.”
Buffon, though, is not concerned by the age gap and says his own future will remain unaffected by Juve’s Champions League fortunes.
“If you have the will to win, the age on your identity card doesn’t really mean anything,” he added.
“Beyond winning or losing it, I love playing in the Champions League. It brings the best out of me.
“It might be difficult to believe but, for me, playing in a Champions League final would give me as much pleasure as ever. I was born to play such games.
“Even if we win the final it won’t change my future. I have a contract through to 2018.”
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