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Gianluigi Buffon: 'When nobody expects anything, you can surprise people'

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Buffon waxes poetic about World Cups and the upcoming European Championships.

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Bianconeri goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon sat down with RAI TV as part of a special kicking off Italy's adventure in the land of cheese, wine and tasty pastries as part of Euro 2016. He discussed his Azzurri career including representing his country and lifting a World Cup trophy.

"We have a big responsibility to represent our country, which is passionate about football and even lives for it."

"We are not having our best moment, but when nobody expects anything that is when you can bring out more than you thought you had and surprise people."

Buffon made his Azzurri debut in 1997 against Russia in a snow storm that would have made the planet Hoth look like Disney Land. He came in, in the 32nd minute, as an injury replacement for Gianluca Pagliuca.

"If there was one game I didn’t want to take part in, it was this one. The conditions were terrible and the tension high, as it was a very important match for qualification to a major tournament.

"What was I thinking? I couldn’t wait for the game to be over!"

But that debut would turn into him lifting the World Cup now 10 years ago.

"The World Cup is the greatest dream a player can have. I don’t have fond memories in a way of that night, as there was so much tension that I didn’t get to really enjoy the sport.

"Obviously the moment of lifting a World Cup is often compared to your wedding day or the birth of a child, but in professional terms nothing can compare to the World Cup."

Nothing like winning the World Cup and return to club football where the team you're playing for is relegated to Serie B.

"It was an opportunity for me and those who stayed to prove that words are backed up by facts too. At that moment it was right to send a small signal that we were doing a good thing and proving how much we felt that sense of belonging."

They also talked about his feeling like a superhero and wearing a Superman shirt underneath his jersey when he played for Parma.

"I felt like a superhero at the time, because I was young! Now I feel like a person who is fully realised. I think the important thing in life is to maintain your balance, being aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

This will be his last European Championship tournament that much he's knows, and at 38 years old, I don't blame him. Italy kicks off its Euro 2016 campaign in France on June 13 at 21:00 CET (3 p.m. ET, 12 p.m. PT) against Belgium.