Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon insisted that Cristiano Ronaldo ought to be considered in the same bracket as iconic duo Pele and Diego Maradona, after his virtuoso display inspired Real Madrid to a 3-0 Champions League win over the Bianconeri.
Ronaldo scored a brace, including a sensational bicycle kick, to ensure the Spanish outfit left the Allianz Stadium with a daunting first leg lead in their Quarter-Final tie on Tuesday.
Marcelo added gloss to the scoreline after Paulo Dybala had been sent off, but it was the performance of Portugal international Ronaldo that caught the eye.
“Ronaldo is an incredible player who, alongside [Barcelona’s Lionel] Messi, is the inspiration to his side’s most important victories,” Buffon told Premium Sport after the final whistle.
“This means that he must be considered with Maradona and Pele, as players who have such an effect on their teams and can inspire them to trophies.”
After a miserable night for the Bianconeri, in which they saw their Champions League dreams all but dashed, the veteran goalkeeper was full of praise for Real Madrid.
“We played against champions of an incredible level. Their ability makes everything much more difficult and forced us to become less precise than usual,” Buffon continued.
“It is hugely disappointing, and in the end we probably won’t progress, but it is also true that in certain situations you must take stock and compliment an opponent that was stronger.”
Juventus will look to overturn their heavy deficit when they travel to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for the return leg next Wednesday.