Vivat to those who have lost: Why doesn't Buffon's greatness depend on the Champions League?

18 June 2017

Two weeks after the Champions League final in the status of the main club of the world – Real the mass media is speaking about transfers. As usual. The question of whether the titled, charismatic, devoted goalkeeper of Juventus Gianluigi Buffon will become the winner of the Champions League, has received its answer at least till next autumn and has lost interest for newspapers.

Why doesn't Buffon's greatness depend on the Champions League?

At the same time, prior to the final match this question was presented not only as the main drama, an intrigue of entire season, but also it was considered to be the most important experiment which will help to establish whether there is the higher justice in the world of football. They say that Buffon so badly deserves the champion’s title and he has to become the winner of the tournament that Ronaldo, Zidane and others nearly have to put a cup between the gloves of the great Italian.

The whole situation with Buffon and the Champions League was considered to be the culmination of the whole season so importunately that it has become the cheesy desire to maintain the general insanity and at this expense to be remembered by communities, fans or editions. It seemed, everyone has to post a message, containing "Buffon Must, Buffon We Trust". As the victory in the Champions League, at last, will open for the greatest Italian goalkeeper - up to now closed for him- his way to football Valhalla.

Buffon Must, Buffon We Trust

The initial message "The Champions League is the door opening for Buffon a way to eternal greatness" is a dust in eyes for those who measure the greatness of football players by number of cups. To a certain extent, the status of the football player – "Great" – really depends on what he has managed to win during his career what great victories he has gained. But bearing in mind all these, Buffon having won the World Cup, times out of numbers having won everything that is possible on the Apennine Peninsula is not a gray mouse that needs the final, loud victory in order to be talked about.

On the contrary, Buffon is the figure that has gained such recognition that the last, final and drama defeat won't deprive him of his greatness but only will strengthen it. It seems paradoxical, but history, including history of football, sometimes leaves in memory names of the winners not too simple for perception but noble, great and those who has lost.

The polar team of Englishman Robert Scott that has died in March, 1912 was competing with Norwegians led by Roald Amundsen for reaching the South Pole. Scott has lost – his group has reached Pole almost for a month after Norwegians did and on the way back all the members of the English group have died because of overstrain, a lack of food and abnormally cold temperatures. The name of Amundsen is the name of the pioneer of the South Pole and it is mentioned in textbooks. But Robert Scott remained to be a symbol of the researcher who has risked everything for gaining the goal and he lost. His history is more dramatic, brighter than the Norwegian and it will be remembered in history as it is the history of the loser.

Buffon

Buffon who has become the history not only as the local legend of club thanks to his loyalty but also because of game qualities, being one of the best goalkeepers of the century, can be remembered as the one who hasn't won the first European prize among clubs, but certainly he was worth of getting it. And understanding of this noble advantage comprises a real key to awareness of greatness of the football player, unlike one more line in the long list of trophies.

And if to look at that final of the World Cup 2006 in which Buffon has won the main award he and his teammates didn’t become the central drama figure and the hero of a tournament. No, the frowned shaven-headed figure of the Frenchman Zinedine Zidane who has finished his career that summer, having swallowed Materazzi’s bait and finally lost his last final became one of football symbols. Football is a game in which there is no higher justice, but there is justice of the game – its internal logic which is developed spontaneously and contrary to wishes of journalists and fans.

The history of football greatness is seen in such unpredictable situations as Zidane’s situation and it happens both in life and at cinema. At cinema where Leonardo DiCaprio for twenty years and five nominations couldn't win so wanted gold Oscar was the same as it is now with Buffon or when fans of Inter and Bayern were wringing hands because Sneijder or Ribéry didn’t get the Ballon d'Or. It is the history of artificial conflicts fomented by the public and the current tragedy which underlines greatness and genius of the person in any field.

Buffon

Finally, the history of defeat of Buffon is an offensive and sad story, but it isn't the answer to a question of his greatness at all. The answer to this question is not whether he will hold in his hands a cup/bottle of champagne/phone for the victorious selfie. The fact that Buffon deserves the right to stay in the history of football is understandable from the fact that many people are so worried because of his possible victories and defeats.

Yes, we understand that he maybe won’t win the Champions League for his career and this is sad. There are football players who have carried out quite worthy career and have even taken a cup of the European champions. But there are few football players who have spent the outstanding career full of great victories but who at the same time haven't won the most important one.

And it is really unimportant why he lost – because of karmic injustice, combination of circumstances or insufficient level of partners. If there exist football gods, then for them it is all the same whose poster is hanging at fans’ homes - Juventus or Real. In one final match there happens something what nobody can expect before starting whistle, and there exist no regularities. But this one match won’t definitely define the status of the football player with twenty year career which will say you if he is great or not.


Read also: Cristiano Ronaldo will stay in Real

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