Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas heaps praise on Gianluigi Buffon

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon

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Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has heaped praise on Juventus stopper Gianluigi Buffon as the two prepare to meet in the Champions League semi-final.

The two veterans are the sole survivors from when the two sides last met at this stage of the competition in 2003, with the Italians prevailing over the two legs on that occasion.

The European heavyweights meet on Tuesday in the first leg of this year’s last-four encounter in Turin and 33-year-old Casillas has moved to praise his opposite number ahead of the clash.

He said: “He has been the benchmark for my generation and he will continue to be so for generations to come. For somebody like me who dreamt of being a goalkeeper, he represented a figure we could only hope of one day being able to be showcased with.”

The 37-year-old is not the only player that Casillas is wary of ahead of the match at the Juventus Stadium, with the Los Blancos legend believing that the Italian champions have quality in all areas of the pitch.

He continued: “It’s certainly going to be an absorbing game between two sides with many stars and different styles of playing. It’s going to be difficult for us, but we’re going to try to leave Turin with a positive result.”

The reigning European champions are 2.50 slight favourites to leave Italy with a positive result, with the Old Lady and the draw both on offer at 3.00.

Real are also second favourites to win the competition as a whole and are available at 3.00 to defend the title they last won 12 months ago.

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