Buffon has played over 850 games in his lengthy career for Parma, Juventus and Italy, and is due to compete in his fifth World Cup finals in Brazil this summer.
The legendary keeper is well placed to make a judgement on the rising stars between the sticks in world football, and has said that Joe Hart and Thibaut Courtois are the two who could compete for ‘best in the world’ status.
When asked who will be the next two goalkeepers to fight for the reputation, Buffon said: “I like Joe Hart; he’s still young and he can become a great keeper,”
Speaking to FourFourTwo Magazine, Buffon also tipped Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois to battle with Hart.
“Among the other young keepers, I really like the Belgian Thibaut Courtois.”
Courtois has been in the headlines on numerous occasions over the last few months, with his playing future still under intense debate.
The 22-year-old is a Chelsea player by contract, but has been on loan with La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid for the last three seasons. Courtois helped Atletico on the way to winning the Spanish league last season, and also played a part in their successful Champions League campaign that saw them finish as runners-up to rivals Real.
Courtois played against Chelsea in the semi-finals of the tournament, and with the ever solid Petr Cech continuing to occupy the number one jersey at Stamford Bridge, Courtois’s future is uncertain.
At just 22, Courtois has five years on his goalkeeping colleague Hart. Hart has won two Premier League titles with Manchester City and is featuring in his second World Cup squad with England. Hart’s reputation has continued to rise in the last few seasons, due to his ability for acrobatic saves and comfort with the basics. He did endure a rough patch at the beginning of last season when he was dropped by City boss Manuel Pellegrini, but has since reclaimed his place.
If Buffon is correct in his predictions as to the two best keepers, we could soon see both going head to head in the Premier League should Courtois’s future be resolved in London.