The past month and a half has been a dream for Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Milan's 16-year-old goalkeeper dreamed of playing for Milan as a (younger) child. After being promoted to the first team full time over the summer, he got his chance in October, when Diego Lopez's form dipped.
Since, the Donnarumma legend has grown rapidly. Milan is allowing fewer goals, and while that is partly thanks to sound defensive play, Donnarumma has been exceptional.
Saturday, when Milan returns from the international break, Donnarumma will face his toughest test to date.
Not only is Donnarumma going up against a Juventus team that is heating up, he will line up across from Gianluigi Buffon, quite possibly the greatest Italian goalkeeper of all time.
Donnarumma idolized Buffon as a child. What young goalkeeper doesn't? Buffon is a legend, one of the best to ever play the game. Saturday will be an incredible opportunity for him to go head to head with the best.
Buffon was in this situation before. As Nick Dorrington pointed out on ESPNFC, Buffon was once a young, raw goalkeeper at Parma. Over the years, the mistakes bred of youth and naivety were eliminated, and he became a legend.
Donnarumma will be Milan's No. 1 from hereon out, especially if Diego Lopez is to leave this winter. Milan must be patient with him, however.
"We must give Donnarumma the time he needs to develop," former goalkeeper Sebastiano Rossi said, "as he has everything that is needed to have a great career with Milan."
There will be ups and downs, but Milan will have an opportunity to truly assess where Donnarumma is right now after Saturday. And for Donnarumma, it will be a great chance to line up opposite his boyhood idol and show Italy he has what it takes to follow in the legend's footsteps.