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MUTUAL RESPECT

Gianluigi Buffon reveals the heartwarming reason why he swapped shirts with Kylian Mbappe

The Juventus legend exchanged shirts with the Monaco youngster after their Champions League tie, and the goalkeeper has now explained why

When game recognises game.

Kylian Mbappe has been the name on everybody’s lips in recent months after a quite astonishing start to his career.

But even the Frenchman and his prolific Monaco team-mates couldn’t find their way through Juventus’ defensive brick wall in midweek.

Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe has been a revelation this season as he has dazzled Europe with a string of scintillating performances

Rex Features
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Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe has been a revelation this season as he has dazzled Europe with a string of scintillating performances

Juve’s 2-0 win in France in their Champions League semi-final first leg means they effectively have one foot in the showpiece in Cardiff at the start of June.

And the clash on Wednesday night produced the first encounter between Mbappe and the seemingly everlasting Gianluigi Buffon.

Buffon and Mbappe share a moment

EPA
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Buffon and Mbappe share a moment

Buffon’s clean sheet meant he has now kept an astonishing 60 shutouts in 100 Champions League games.

But despite Mbappe failing to score past him, the Italian great was quick to seek him out to swap shirts after the final whistle.

Buffon explained when he was a youngster he got fed up with players not wanting to make the gesture to him, so he thought he’d ensure Mbappe didn’t suffer the same disappointment:

I swapped my shirt with Mbappe because when I was young nobody wanted to do that with me and I hated it

Gianluigi Buffon (via AS)

Hero.

Buffon, by virtue of his extraordinarily lengthy career, has now played alongside players born in six different decades after 2000 baby Moise Kean’s debut this season.

Mbappe had no luck up against Buffon on Wednesday night

EPA
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Mbappe had no luck up against Buffon on Wednesday night

The day he eventually announces his retirement will be one of the saddest in recent memory.