The Juventus shot-stopper admits that the Bayern Munich man has surpassed his level, but is relishing a run-in with his opposite number at some stage in the Euro 2012 finalsItaly goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has admitted that Germany shot-stopper Manuel Neuer is the best No. 1 in the world.
However, the Juventus man believes that his nation can reach the final of Euro 2012, and hopes to face the Gelsenkirchen native when they get there. On Sky Sports News, Buffon greeted Neuer with praise.
"Ciao Manuel! You are the best goalkeeper in the world, I hope that both of us are in the Euro final," he said.
Buffon also sent a light-hearted plea to his opposite number, eagerly anticipating a meeting between the two.
"Please don't take it badly, but I must win!" he joked.
"I'm at the end of my career, you still have so much in front of you! I look forward to facing you!"
Buffon, 33, was part of the Italy side that hoisted the 2006 World Cup, but to date has yet to add the European Championship to his trophy cabinet.
25-year-old Neuer, meanwhile, reached the 2010 World Cup semi-final, and next summer will participate in his first European Championship.
Visit our Euro 2012 microsite for all you need to know ahead of Friday's draw and beyond - team profiles, stadium guides, even which hotels are best to stay in!