David de Gea will face his idol when Spain play Italy during their last 16 tie on Monday in Gianluigi Buffon.
The Man United goalkeeper had a difficult time against Croatia in the last game of the group stages but will be keen to bounce back against their old rivals in knockout clash.
De Gea, who has been sensational for Man United over the last two years, says he studied Buffon as a young goalkeeper.
“He’s a living legend,” he said.
“[Buffon] is one of the goalkeepers who I have really studied. I’ve followed his career right the way through.
“He is an amazing goalkeeper and he keeps showing that he is, even after so many years in the elite. Above all else, he is an idol for any goalkeeper.”
He had been linked with a move to Real Madrid last year but has seemingly committed himself to Man United with the arrival of Jose Mourinho. He will benefit from the Portuguese manager’s deep defensive line and will most likely take a step forward in his attempt to become the best keeper in the world.
The arrival of Eric Bailly will also help De Gea’s confidence given how unprotected he must have felt in previous seasons with a revolving door at the centre-back position and key injuries at a position where consistency and playing together is key.
Spain have only conceded twice at the Euros but they came against Croatia and De Gea received criticism for both. He will need to bounce back against Italy and maybe having his idol playing in the opposite goals will have a positive effect on his confidence.