Buffon named as world's second best player

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The 39-year-old goalkeeping icon has been rewarded for leading Juventus to a domestic double, as well as the Champions League final

Italy and Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon has claimed second place in the 2017 Goal 50.

The goalkeeping icon turned 39 in January but has enjoyed a stellar 12 months, winning another league-and-cup double with the Bianconeri, whom he also led to the final of the Champions League.

Of course, Buffon - who remains the world's most expensive goalkeeper 16 years after his €52 million transfer from Parma to Turin - was left heartbroken after Juve's loss to Real Madrid in Cardiff but there was nothing he could have done about his side's 4-1 defeat.

The Carrara native had played a pivotal role in the Old Lady reaching the final by going 600 minutes without conceding a goal in the Champions League - a new personal best - before Kylian Mbappe's strike for Monaco in the second leg of the semi-finals.

Buffon Juventus Serie A

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In addition, Buffon's performance in a 1-0 win for a 10-man Juve over Lyon in the group stage was immediately lauded as one of the finest of his career, thus silencing the critics who had written him off.

"I love it when they celebrate your funeral," he enthused on the night on which he saved a penalty from Alexandre Lacazette, "and then you show them that you're still alive."

Meanwhile, a sixth successive Serie A title took Buffon's overall tally to eight, moving him level with Virginio Rosetta, Giovanni Ferrari, and Giuseppe Furino as the players with the most Scudetti in the history of Italian football.

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Second place also represents his highest ever ranking in the Goal 50, with his previous best having been a 16th-place finish in 2015.

But who denied 'San Gigi' top spot? Lionel Messi? Cristiano Ronaldo? Neymar? All will be revealed when the final Goal 50 list is published at 1200 UK time on Tuesday.

The Goal 50 is an annual award that both recognises and ranks the world's 50 best footballers of the preceding 12 months. Chief editors and correspondents from Goal's 37 editions around the world all cast their votes, with candidates judged on their level of consistency over the previous year of action, their big-game performances, footballing legacy and the success of their teams at both club and international level.

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