At 36 years of age, Gianluigi Buffon remains the standard by which all goalkeepers are judged in the Italian top flight.
The World Cup-winning shot stopper has already assumed a place among the greatest to ever play his position despite continuing to line up in between the pipes for Juventus.
But behind the Bianconeri man there still plenty of goalkeeping talent in Serie A, with youngsters such as Mattia Perin, Francesco Bardi and Simone Scuffet tipped as his heirs.
The common thread, of course, is that each of each of these youngsters hail from the peninsula – thus, it’s a natural question to ask if they’ll ever be able to reach Buffon’s level.
But the Serie A goalkeeper scene counts more than just promising Italians in its ranks, with the likes of Samir Handanovic and Diego Lopez also kicking around. Then, there’s Neto.
The Fiorentina shot stopper has made his way from error-prone prospect to trusted number one since arriving at the Stadio Artemio Franchi as a 21-year-old in 2011.
Neto has brought an end to a tumultuous period for the Viola in goal, the club having cycled through a series of different starters after selling Sebastien Frey three years ago.
This, however, has piqued outside interest. Neto’s contract is set to expire in June and he is yet to agree new terms with Fiorentina, despite the Tuscan outfit being keen to keep him.
Liverpool have entered the frame – in search of a talented competitor for the struggling Simon Mignolet – reportedly offering Neto £30,000 per week to lure him to Anfield.
The Brazilian’s rise to prominence has been so swift that he’s seen to be challenging for the title of Serie A’s top goalkeeper – a place still occupied by Buffon per consensus.
But with the Reds seemingly looking to take Neto to the Premier League to consolidate his success, former Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Orsi still feels he has room to improve.
Orsi told FiorentinaNews: “Reaching [the level of] Buffon is very hard but Neto is growing. You can’t compare him to the Juventus goalkeeper yet but he deserves credit for having matured a lot in these last few years.
“[Fiorentina head coach Vincenzo] Montella deserves some credit for having believed in him even when he made a few mistakes to many.
“Now Neto’s mistakes can be counted on the fingers of a single hand and his personality will be good for the whole team. He’s certainly turned into one of the best goalkeepers in Serie A.”
Fiorentina are certainly aware of what they have in Neto, though the cruel part of a player fulfilling his potential is the attention attracted from elsewhere.
Liverpool aren’t the only ones said to be hot on the Brazilian’s tail, as it’s been claimed that Roma will try to keep him in Italy by offering a wage packet of around £24,000 per week.
This is less than what Liverpool reportedly are willing to pay the Viola man, though it remains to be seen if Neto prefers to stay in Italy or try his hand on English shores.
A stay at Fiorentina still can’t be ruled out and anything can still happen at the moment, the 25-year-old's future in the balance.
The only thing certain is that whoever wins out for his services will have a goalkeeper of considerable faculties on their hands who has the potential to get even better.