Ireland legend chats to Newstalk's Team 33 about the Juventus and Italy great
As Gianluigi Buffon approaches the age of 40, he has won everything possible at club level.
Well, except for one thing. On June 3rd in Cardiff, Buffon has a chance to win the Champions League for the very first time as he and his Juventus team-mates attempt to prevent Real Madrid from becoming the first side to retain the post-1992 trophy.
Regardless of what happens, Italy's 2006 World Cup winner and record caps holder is still on course to go down as one of the greatest goalkeepers to play the game - perhaps even THE greatest such has been his longevity and sustained brilliance since he was first pitched into the men's game at the age of 17 back in 1995.
Former Ireland goalkeeper Packie Bonner knows a thing or two about what it takes to tend goal at the highest level and he gave his insight on Buffon's brilliance on this week's Newstalk's Team 33.
Speaking as part of the Don't Ignore The Red Campaign which raises awareness about bladder cancer, the former Ireland No 1 explained: "He's certainly up there. Because of the period he's been involved in - he's 39 going on 40 years old. The other thing is he's adapted his game. The game has completely changed from 1995. The pass back was in but people didn't know how to handle the pass back. They didn't actually do the data on it but the game now is one where everybody builds from the back, you can either go long or short but 70% of his and their actions will be with the feet. And he's adapted so well."
Packie Bonner Irish goalkeeping legend returned to Dublin to help raise awareness of bladder cancer. The ‘Don’t ignore the red’ campaign, created by Roche and the Marie Keating Foundation, aims to educate those most at risk of developing the disease to recognise the symptoms.
Bonner added that he "loved watching" Italy at the last Euros especially when it came to seeing Buffon in action and how his leadership and emotion is evident from the behind the defence for club and country.
"He is a coach at the back. If somebody is passing the ball, he's telling them to get into position long before. He's influencing them especially when they played three at the back and built a lot more from the back. Under this manager, they're not doing that as much. They're much more direct. But he's again been able to adapt into the tactical side but he is the leader and the influencer at the back," said Bonner.
"But I love when someone puts a tackle in, he's over encouraging them and motivating them. So a real leader and you just watch how he performs. It's nice to see him live and to see a whole match."
You can listen to the full chat with Packie on the second half of the podcast player just below or stream on iTunes:
Packie Bonner was speaking as part of the Don't Ignore The Red Campaign which raises awareness about bladder cancer.
Annually, about 450 people in Ireland are diagnosed with bladder cancer with men four times more likely to get it. A National Cancer Registry Ireland report has identified high risk areas including the East Coast, parts of Donegal and areas in Kerry and Cork.
Symptoms include blood in urine, painful urination and changes in the frequency of urination.
Early diagnosis may improve one's prognosis and more information about bladder cancer can be found on the Marie Keating Foundation's section on the topic.
Speaking about the campaign, Bonner says: "Bladder cancer was not something I knew much about before, so to see the high rates of bladder cancer in my own county of Donegal was a big shock for me. I want to stress how important symptom awareness is, and how it could save so many lives by simply being vigilant about our own health."