The 2006 World Cup final was won by Gianluigi Buffon on barely any rest as nerves prevented him from enjoying a relaxed sleep the previous night.
Having only conceded to an own goal prior to that game against France, Buffon conceded to an early Zinedine Zidane penalty which was soon cancelled out by Marco Materazzi’s equaliser.
The Azzurri went on to edge out France on penalties in Berlin to lift their fourth world trophy and Buffon has reflected on the anxiety and joy around that momentous night over a decade ago.
“Before Champions League finals, I slept normally and was fine but before the World Cup final, I couldn’t even sleep for a minute,” he revealed in an interview with Copa90.
“I realised the greatest dream that any young child and footballer has that night, to win that tournament. When I was growing up, I collected the sticker albums of the players and dreamed of being there for playing in Serie A or the national team.
“Perhaps the World Cup was too much to dream of but winning that was the prize of a lifetime. Making your mark in life [by winning it] is unique and you can die happy.”
Having played with some of the game’s greats throughout his glittering career, the Juventus captain also attempted to make the difficult decision of naming his hypothetical dream five-a-side team.
“I’m a great friend of defenders and hate the attackers!” he joked. “The best players I’ve played against are Brazilian Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane.
“After those four, I’d like to talk about my teammates, all of the defenders I’ve played with from [Lilian] Thuram to [Fabio] Cannavaro and [Ciro] Ferrara to [Giorgio] Chiellini, [Andrea] Barzagli, [Leonardo] Bonucci and [Daniele] Rugani.
“Those are players who have written important chapters in the books of domestic and international football. Among the most talented Italians, I’d put [Andrea] Pirlo, [Francesco] Totti, [Alessandro] Del Piero and [Roberto] Baggio and at that point to make it a top five, I’d include [Paolo] Maldini.”