By ESPNSTAR.com staff
Barcelona star Messi has had phenomenal 2012, scoring 91 goals in total for the Catalan club and Argentina. With his astounding conversion rate and form, the 25-year old is expected to pick up the Ballon d'Or ahead of fellow attackers Andres Iniesta and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Buffon told Sport Mediaset that the football world was unlikely to be blessed with a player of Messi's quality again anytime soon, but he also pointed out that other players, like compatriot Andrea Pirlo, deserved recognition for some remarkable performances.
"He's a once in a generation player. I think it's unlikely that any human being again will repeat the numbers that Messi is getting, but he is a striker, so numbers are on his side. I think Andrea Pirlo has the same sort of quality," Buffon stated.
"He does not have to envy anyone, but in the world of football, awards go to those who score goals."
The Juventus captain also had a memorable 2012, during which he played integral parts of the Bianconeri's triumphant Serie A campaign and Italy's run to the Euro 2012 finals. Despite being one of the oldest members of both squads, Buffon believed he still had much to offer to club and country over the next few years.
"2012 was a year full of sporting satisfaction, personal and otherwise, it was a year that I will remember for a long time. We were able to do something memorable thanks to hard work and sweat as well as the good fortune of being led by a great coach. No one expected we were able to get to the final, we were not even remotely favorites," Buffon reflected.
""I'm 34 and I do not feel old but mature, I know where I can go and I think I can play at least three more years at the highest level."