Derby d'Italia Battle Between the Pipes: Gianluigi Buffon v. Julio Cesar

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IApril 17, 2009

It's not often that two of the best at their respective positions face off in one of the most important and prestigious games of the year in not just Italy, but also all of Europe.

We will be able to find that out when Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon and Inter Milan's Julio Cesar face off in this season's second installment of the Derby d'Italia in Turin Saturday night.

If you had to choose one to man the net in the biggest game of the season, which one would it be?

In a recent interview on Italian television, Buffon recently said that Cesar has taken over the spot as the world's best.

If you want to handout a clutch award of the year, Julio Cesar will certainly have to be at the top of the list.

His saves have been miraculous and completely insane at times. He has become almost as important to Inter's cause as Zlatan Ibrahimovic has, if not more. It seems as though every game we see Julio Cesar pulling a rabbit out of his hat and making a save where we're left scratching our head as to how exactly he got there.

By now we shouldn't really find it very surprising anymore.

But the man imposing might have one of the most impressive resumes you will ever see for a goalkeeper.

For everything that Julio Cesar has done in the past few years to rise to the top of the goalkeeping ranks, Buffon has been there, done that and plenty more.

Since his move from Parma in 2001, Buffon has been the biggest name in goalkeeping. People model themselves on how he not only plays between the sticks but how he models himself off the field.

He's the most expensive 'keeper in the history of the game and is has been one of the main reasons why Juventus are who they are in the past decade.

Even with Buffon still not at 100 percent after his injury that caused him to miss most of the first half of the season, his importance on the field is still vital to Juve's cause.

However, that would be hard to believe if you look at the recent stat lines coming across the sports ticker.

The backlash of Juve's last two games, in which the Old Lady allowed six goals combined, has seen Buffon go to beloved and seemingly perfect in the fans' eyes to one that is open for the harshest of criticism.

Buffon said after the 3-2 defeat to Genoa last Saturday and the 3-3 tie against Chievo a week before that, the entire defensive unit should be to blame for amount of goals being let in the net.

That is true to an extent, Buffon is one of the biggest standup guys in the sport today, but it has certainly been more a reason of the four defenders getting chewed apart than Buffon being a complete liability in goal.

And what a grand stage for Buffon to claim his place once again on the top of the goalkeeping mountain than against Juve's most-hated rivals?

With so much offensive firepower on the field for each team Saturday night, there is no doubt that two of the best in the business will feature prominently in the outcome of the game.

The Scudetto may unofficially be Inter's, making it a four-peat for the boys in blue and black, but it's now simply pride to play for and a consolation pride for a disappointing Juventus season would be saying they beat their hated rivals.

Ever since the Calciopoli scandal in 2006, the rivalry has only seemed to intensify even more.

It's hard to believe, but it's true.

Finishing second to Inter with a small margin wouldn't be as sweet as winning it, but like so many other sports, winning a rivalry game, especially one as heated as this one has become, is always a reason to smile.

And with these two incredible goalkeeping stalwarts defending their respective nets, there is no reason to think this contest will disappoint.


    Ronaldo's on Fire, Gives Real 1-0 Lead vs Girona

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Ronaldo's on Fire, Gives Real 1-0 Lead vs Girona

    via Streamja

    Schedule for FA Cup Semi Finals

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Schedule for FA Cup Semi Finals

    Rory Marsden
    via Bleacher Report

    OP-ED: Captain Mauro Icardi must carry Inter to Europe

    Inter Milan logo
    Inter Milan

    OP-ED: Captain Mauro Icardi must carry Inter to Europe

    Matt Santangelo
    via IFD

    Did Morata Banish the Ghost of Torres at Leicester?

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Did Morata Banish the Ghost of Torres at Leicester?

    Matt Law,
    via The Telegraph