ITALIAN goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon has joined the exclusive club of players who have racked up 100 appearances in the Champions League. The 38-year-old became the 29th member of the group when he played for Juventus in their 1-1 draw with Lyon on Wednesday night. Buffon was a Parma player when he made his debut in the competition – a goalless draw with Sparta Prague on September 17, 1997. In his 100 appearances in Europe’s elite club competition – six for Parma and 94 for Juve -Buffon has kept 42 clean sheets but has yet to lift the trophy, finishing runner-up in 2003 and 2015. Although Buffon may have racked up a century, he is still some way short of the all-time record appearance maker in the Champions League – fellow goalkeeping idol IkerCasillas, who has 160. Casillas, 35, reached that tally when he played in Porto’s 1-0 win over Club Bruges on Wednesday night, having won the tournament three times with Real Madrid. Barcelona legend Xavi is the highestranked outfield player on the list with 151 appearances – the last of which came when they beat Juventus 3-1 in the 2015 Berlin final. Spanish striker Raul notched up 142 matches in the competition, one more than Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs. Cristiano Ronaldo, who is on 131 games after his outing in Real Madrid’s 3-3 draw with Legia Warsaw this week, has a chance of catching and overhauling Casillas if he remains at the top level for another few years. Six Englishmen feature on the list – Paul Scholes (124), John Terry (109), Gary Neville (109), Ashley Cole (108), David Beckham (107) and Frank Lampard (105). Manchester United forward ZlatanIbrahimovic will be hoping to lead the club back into the competition next season and build on his 119 matches. Lionel Messi, meanwhile, seems sure to end up on many more than the 109 games he has already played for Barcelona.
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