Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has hailed Gianluigi Buffon as the greatest goalkeeper of all time.
Buffon, 37, has been at his best in recent games, ensuring Juve picked up two crucial results -- first with a 1-1 Champions League draw at Borussia Monchengladbach, and then with a 3-1 Serie A win at Empoli.
The Italy and Juve captain surpassed Alessandro Del Piero's record for the number of minutes played for the Bianconeri (48,794) at the end of October, and still hopes to be playing in 2018.
"It's one thing seeing him only in one game when you are his opponent, but it's another when you see him training every day -- I believe he's the best goalkeeper in history," Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.
Not only has Buffon been a key player for Juve this season, but his words in the wake of a recent defeat to Sassuolo also helped the Bianconeri get over the latest setback of their season and pick up back-to-back wins which have lifted them to their highest position this season so far -- seventh.
"Buffon's words were precious, but then what matters are that the facts," Allegri said. "You can't think we are always going to win easily because we are Juventus. Last year, we won a lot of games when we were suffering so we need to keep working humbly.
"Inter have won seven or eight games 1-0, while we've conceded seven or eight goals with the first shot we've let our opponents have."
In addition to having played more minutes than any other Juve player, Buffon is Italy's most capped player with 152 to his name.
Barring injury, Buffon will captain Italy at Euro 2016 and appears on course to lead the Azzurri out in Russia for the 2018 World Cup at the age of 40.
Nine points still separate league leaders Inter from Juve, who face AC Milan in their first game after the international break.