Legendary Italian goalkeeper praises Celtic No.1 Joe Hart for bouncing back from adversity after finding his ‘home’

Gianluigi Buffon once ranked the former England shot-stopper as one of the best goalkeepers in world football

Gianluigi Buffon insists he isn’t surprised to see Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart back to his best after finding a place to call ‘home’ at Parkhead.

The 34-year-old has been one of Hoops manager Ange Postecoglou’s biggest assets this season since becoming one of the Australian's first signings last summer.

The former England No.1 has kept an impressive 23 clean sheets in 47 games across all competitions so far for Celtic on the back the most challenging period in his career.

Amahl Pellegrino scores Bodo/Glimt's second goal in their 3-1 win over Celtic in the Europa Conference League. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Hart, who spent the majority of the 2020/21 season as understudy to Hugo Lloris at Tottenham, was cast aside by Manchester City and had to endure years of widespread criticism as he struggled to settle at a club.

His confidence between the sticks dropped but Postecoglou has given the two-time Premier League winner a new lease of life at Celtic.

Hart has shown the Parkhead faithful exactly what he is capable of once again, with a number of outstanding displays this term.

Buffon, arguably one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, previously ranked Hart as one of the best shot-stoppers in world football and recalled how he watched the Englishman develop into his nation’s undisputed No.

Speaking to the Daily Record, he said: “The way Joe is playing this season is no surprise to me he has always been a great goalkeeper. He just needed a place to call home again.

“He is a player I watched develop and I saw he had everything that was needed to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

“It was not that long ago that I called him one of the top three or four goalkeepers in the world.

“Along with (Manuel) Neuer, (David) De Gea and (Jan) Oblak, these guys were the next generation who could take over from myself and (Iker) Casillas.

“That player who was No.1 for Manchester City and England didn’t go away. He just needed to find his confidence again.

Joe Hart has been praised by Gianluigi Buffon. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

“I have always said you have to be a little bit crazy to be a goalkeeper because you are so isolated.

“As a defender, you are part of a defence. As a midfielder, part of a midfield. But the goalkeeper is the isolated player on the field.

“You make a mistake and all eyes are on you. That is what happened with Joe.

“He made a couple of mistakes and people just decided he was not top level anymore.

“He needed a bit of love to find his level again and he has obviously got that love at Celtic. The top player is back and it is good to see.”