Buffon reveals Cameroonian heroes

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The Italian icon, who made his debut for the Bianconeri in 2001, initially began his career as an outfield player, but was encouraged to take up the gloves by his father.

And in an interview with Four Four Two, the Juve gloveman revealed how a certain Cameron star inspired him to become a keeper after the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

“My dad pushed me towards it a bit, but then I also really wanted to be like Thomas N’Kono, the Cameroon goalkeeper,” Buffon said.

“I had lots of heroes, but none were particularly conventional. There was Thomas N’Kono, but also his team-mate, Roger Milla. I really loved to watch Cameroon – they were my second team after Italy.”

The 36-year-old is set for his 500th cap for his club when they face Genoa in a Serie A fixture on Wednesday night, adding to the 143 appearances he has made for his national team.

And Buffon insist he is far from hanging up his gloves just yet.

“Maybe up until you’re 28, 29, 30, it’s about your physicality, your agility, but after that things change a little and your experience as a keeper begins to kick in,” he said.

“You know how to approach the important games, the sort of thing you only know from experience. And to have that kind of experience, I think you need to be over 30. But there’s a pay-off to that, because you can’t do the same things you could do as a young man. Good goalkeepers improve all the time, though. Yes, 150 caps would be a great achievement. Let’s see.”

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri heaped praise on the veteran goalkeeper ahead of his 500th match in black and white.

"It’s an achievement that very few will accomplish,” he said. “Gigi’s deserves it.

"I think he’s got a great deal more to offer because he combines the enthusiasm of a youngster with the cool head of a veteran.

"His professionalism is a great example for the youngsters, who learn how to behave at an important club like Juventus."

Buffon will be hoping to add to his 236 clean sheets for his club when the Serie A leaders take on Genoa at the Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris.

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