Veteran Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has admitted that Group C rivals Spain are the most talented team at Euro 2012, while pointing out that when it comes to one-off tournaments, the best side does not always triumph.
The 34-year-old shot stopper will kick off his eighth major tournament for the Azzurri in Sunday's group opener with Spain, having previously made the final squad for four World Cups and three European Championships since making his international debut in 1997.
Speaking at a press conference the day before taking on la Roja, the Juventus man was in no doubt when it came to recognising who would be the strongest side in Poland and Ukraine.
"We respect Spain. The best team almost always win in football, and that is them. But it does not always happen like that," he explained.
"Sometimes others win. Greece did it in 2004 over superior teams. Denmark managed it as well. That gives us some hope."
Buffon was part of the Italy squad that lifted the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and has appeared 114 times for his country.