Gianluigi Buffon gave his view on the Champions League, Scudetto race, facing his beloved Genoa, Antonio Conte’s ban and his future at Juventus.
The goalkeeper sat down for a lengthy interview with Sky Sport Italia and covered a series of topics.
“There are three or four teams who may have been behind us on paper, but I think they can emerge in the long run. I’m thinking of Milan, Inter, Roma and above all Napoli, who have a solid system and have been working together for a long time now.”
The Bianconeri won the Scudetto in Conte’s first season, but the Coach is fighting a 10-month ban in the betting scandal.
“Conte achieved a real miracle last term, because he gave us belief and determination. He turned the team inside out like a sock and the achievements gave us belief in ourselves. Obviously a Coach like Conte would be missed by any team and will be missed by us until he can get back on the bench.”
Thanks to that title, Juve are back in the Champions League and will make their debut on Wednesday against holders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
“For so many Tuesday and Wednesday nights I was forced to watch this tournament from my couch,” smiled Buffon.
“I have a nice television, but being on the field is another matter... I missed it and so did my teammates, but these two years out were good for us, because now we’ll fight for every last drop of sweat in each game.
“Playing so many games in quick succession won’t leave us tired, as overcoming important obstacles has a way of doubling your energy levels.
“Last season Chelsea achieved a miracle by winning the Champions League, because there were stronger teams. Roberto Di Matteo gave them unity and solidity, which is what allowed them to win.”
Before that night in London, Juventus take to the field on Sunday against Genoa, the side Buffon supported in childhood.
“My uncle supported the Grifone and had the club symbol on his car. As a child I loved the colours and was fascinated by that mythical beast, so I started supporting them. We’ll be facing Marco Borriello, who was much loved in our locker room, and Ciro Immobile. They’ll be eager to make the most of this chance.”
With Alessandro Del Piero’s move to Sydney FC, Buffon inherited the captain’s armband and the role of club symbol.
“He wanted to experience this new adventure that will really enrich him. I am convinced he’ll still have a long career in which he can beat even more records.
“As I already said, I am not itching to leave. I am fortunate to be in an exciting environment in which I feel a protagonist and can show that on the field. It makes me happy, so I’ll have no problem accepting the contract renewal.
“I’m in no rush, as Juventus have had other things to think about and it’s only right my situation should be on the back burner. It would’ve been egotistical to want anything else.
“My future? I haven’t thought about that yet. Never say never, but I think that when I stop with Juve it’ll be the end of my playing career in Italy.”
Check out OLBG.com's list of ££ Free Bets from UK bookmakers before placing your bets!