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The Juventus centre-back says that his international and club colleague is the greatest goalkeeper ever and that he will have a big part to play in Italy's World Cup campaign

EXCLUSIVE
By Kris Voakes | International Football Correspondent

Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon is the best goalkeeper of all time, says Giorgio Chiellini.

The Juventus defender believes that his skipper at both club and international level is the greatest ever No.1 and believes that his quality and experience could be key factors in the Azzurri having a good run at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

"Buffon, for us, is the captain. He is the player with the most experience and we are lucky to have the man who I believe is the best goalkeeper of all time defending our goal," Chiellini told Goal of the 36-year-old.

"We always try to make sure that he has to make very few saves but it is extremely reassuring having him in goal."

But Buffon, who holds the Italian record for international caps with 139, is not the only player whose experience could be vital according to Chiellini.

"Andrea Pirlo is football, he is a fantastic and sensational footballer," the 29-year-old continued. "In the past years I have had the fortune of having him in my club team, Juventus, in addition to the national team and since he joined we have started winning again.

"He is a winning player who manages to draw the best out of his team. He also has an exceptional personality, which is something fundamental in a competition like the World Cup."

Cesare Prandelli's side have been placed in a tricky Group D for the summer tournament but Chiellini is hopeful that striker Mario Balotelli will live up to the hype and score the goals that lead Italy to the latter stages.

"Mario Balotelli is undoubtedly the greatest talent of Italian football," he enthused. "His career so far has lived many ups and downs but let's hope that in this upcoming World Cup he will manage to lead this team in the way that all the Italy fans hope."

Italy face England in their opening game of the World Cup in Manaus on June 14, following by clashes with Costa Rica and Uruguay.

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