Buffon enjoys ‘small victories’ over Barca

Date published: Thursday 20th April 2017 10:45

Gianluigi Buffon hailed a defensive masterclass after Juventus shut out Barcelona but the Italian goalkeeper claimed it would mean little if they did not win the Champions League.

Juventus advanced into the semi-finals of Europe’s elite club competition after seeing off the Catalan giants 3-0 on aggregate, following up their Turin rout with a goalless draw at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night.

While Lionel Messi had a rare off night, twice missing the target with gilt-edged opportunities, Barca were rarely afforded space in the final third and their movement was largely strangled by their obdurate quarter-final opponents.

Buffon only had to make a couple of saves thanks to the supreme efforts of those in front of him and the Italian goalkeeper, who has made more than 600 appearances for the Old Lady, paid tribute to his outfield players.

However, the Juve stalwart has urged his team-mates to keep pushing for glory, telling BT Sport 2: “We’re very happy with these small victories but what we really want to do is go all the way.

“We knew it would be a very tough game, full of difficult moments because Barca are the strongest team in the world.

“We showed real conviction and personality to come here and play the way we did. There were certain periods, particularly in defence, when we showed we’re a real team.”

Buffon, who has only conceded twice in this season’s competition and kept clean sheets in each of Juventus’ four games in the knockout stages, has never won the Champions League in his illustrious career.

He has won seven Serie A crowns with Juventus, the UEFA Cup with Parma and the 2006 World Cup with Italy, but when asked what it would mean for him to lift Europe’s top club trophy, he replied: “It’s a wonderful challenge for me every year.

“At the start of the season we always set targets, that goes for life, too. I think that’s essential if you want to get the best out of yourself and improve.

“We’ll see if we’re good enough to manage it, we haven’t won anything just yet but we have put in two good performances over the two legs which have given us a real confidence boost.”

His opposite number, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, admitted Barcelona were beaten by the better side.

“We had a first leg which was not good,” he said. “We didn’t have so many chances to pass (on Wednesday night). At the end it’s deserved when you score three times.

“We didn’t have so much luck sometimes so we were searching for the luck. We didn’t find it so at the end we need to congratulate Juventus for the good match.”

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