Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is “an extra-terrestrial who plays with us humans”, according to Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
The duo go to head-to-head in Saturday’s Champions League final, with Argentina’s Messi bidding to become the first player to score in three finals.
“We hope that on 6 June he returns to earth and becomes a human too,” added Buffon, 37, ahead of the Berlin final.
Messi, 27, has scored 58 goals for Barcelona this season. His partnership with Brazil’s Neymar and Uruguay’s Luis Suarez has brought Barcelona 120 goals this season, helping the Catalans to the La Liga title and the Copa Del Rey.
Buffon, who has won 147 Italy caps, added: “I think it’s the strongest attacking trio in the world. They have an offensive power which is certainly scary but we also have weapons, not maybe to stop them with but to limit them a bit.”
Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci said: “What do I think about when I see that front three? Applauding. No, obviously the front three scare anyone but Barca isn’t just those three up front but a collective of footballers which play for each other.”
Serie A champions Juventus have not won the Champions League since 1996, while four-time winners Barcelona last lifted the trophy in 2011 when they defeated Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley.