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Saturday March 1 2014
Time for Buffon to step aside?

With Juve linked to other ‘keepers, Dave Taylor wonders if Gianluigi Buffon can offer more to Juventus by standing down as No 1.

This weekend’s big clash between Milan and Juventus involves quite an intriguing subtext for one Juve player. Way back in 1995 a nervous 17-year-old Gianluigi Buffon, fresh from the Primavera side, made his Parma debut against the then-mighty Rossoneri. The champions elect were top of the table, yet despite legendary strikers Roberto Baggio and George Weah were held to a 0-0 draw, following the young ‘keeper’s superb performance. This Sunday Buffon plays them again but this time he is captain of Juventus, topping the table, super confident and it’s his team that are champions elect.

A lot has happened since that memorable November day when Buffon started his path to becoming arguably Italy’s best ever goalkeeper. Yet the fact remains that he isn’t getting any younger and at 36 his future with Juve seems up in the air, according to his agent.

“At the moment, I can’t say for certain what’s going to happen,” said Silvano Martina recently. “Maybe he’ll retire this summer, maybe he’ll leave, maybe he’ll stay, I just don’t know.” There are some who feel if Buffon thinks like this that he should retire sooner rather than later. A captain’s mood can determine the disposition of the whole team and to be so unsure of his future may just undermine the whole winning ethos Buffon for one has worked so hard to maintain.

There are also claims that in the Champions League, especially against top class opposition like Bayern Munich last year, his performances are not up to scratch. Then there are his injuries, especially to his back, which have been so serious that on a couple of occasions almost ended his career. 

Nevertheless, his time isn’t quite up yet, he is still signed until June 2015 and undoubtedly still has the quality to lift a third consecutive Scudetto. However, according to some, including former Juve Coach Fabio Capello, that’s not too difficult as Serie A standards have dropped compared to previous seasons. “Juve are good in Italy and bad out of it,” he said. “There is no competition for them in Serie A, and therefore, no proper workouts.”

With this in mind and the fact that Juve have an undoubtedly strong defence, perhaps now is the time they should think about introducing a newcomer for next season. Reports suggest that they are already looking at Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp as Gigi’s long term replacement this summer. They could also bring back a couple of young on loan ‘keepers. If that is the case, perhaps Buffon could be more valuable by staying on the sidelines. From there he could instruct them and always be ready to step in if things don’t go according to plan.

The values of leadership can sometimes be underestimated in football and Buffon could be a real asset to make his replacement believe he has what it takes to play for Juve. He can also explain to less experienced players what is needed, how best to represent Juve and be the shining light youngsters can aspire to.

Certainly Juve have a class of talent that can look up to him with no less than 10 ‘keepers on their books. These include the highly thought of youngsters on loan in Serie B, like Nicola Leali at Spezia and Laurentiu Branescu at Lanciano. Away from Turin is Genoa’s Mattia Perin, who at 20 has already played for the Azzurri and has, according to Dino Zoff, the potential and the ability to become Buffon’s heir.

Juve also possess much strength in their youth system with 18-year-olds Sergio Citti and Gianmarco Vannucchi impressing with every passing game. Yet, perhaps the one with the most potential is 17-year-old Audero Emil, who has already played in the Primavera and is an Azzurri U-18 starlet.

Despite this potential, none are quite ready to step up to the top level just yet. It is all down to Buffon because he is still the best and the arguments and discussions can go on interminably about who can take his place if he retires.

 

And whether that is this summer or not, the only thing we do know for sure is that one day it will happen. So, while we wait lets just enjoy Gigi for what he has brought to Italian football since that stunning debut almost two decades ago.    

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Have your say...
Why replace him?? So serie a can see another foreigner to add to the endless list of rubbish that pushes out home grown talent!
If a goalie is needed start running through the youth network and bring a youngster in to learn from the buffon. Future plan for juve and italy!
on the 1st March, 2014 at 8:13pm
Why would Juve weaken their team by moving Buffon aside?

Buffon has proven especially in recent months that he is still a key player for Juventus.

When Buffon retires having him in the backroom staff would be a good idea but there is no reason to rush it.
on the 1st March, 2014 at 6:55pm
Pretty stupid suggestion. He's no longer the best or in the top 5. But he is a top 10 GK in the world and world-class. He should sit on the sidelines so that an inferior keeper not yet on the squad can look to lead them? OK. I'd much rather have Buffon as my GK than Trapp.

Serie A is still a great league, just waiting for the Milans to jump up again. Worry about a new GK when Buffon isn't good enough. Also, Conte, Juve would be better if they went out to attack in the CL (play Marchisio).
on the 1st March, 2014 at 6:31pm
What a load of bull.
on the 1st March, 2014 at 5:41pm
Juve is being linked to other goalies?

Where?

When?

Dumb article.

Next.
on the 1st March, 2014 at 4:08pm
@Setters10,

You said it all.

Gigi remains #1.

He already promised that when he feels he cant do it anymore, then he will step a side.

Until that day comes we need his leadership more than any previous day.

Let's try UCL one more time while the #1 is the captain.

Forza Juve.
on the 1st March, 2014 at 3:07pm
Give up blogging and stick to delayed and hit or miss translated calcio news.
on the 1st March, 2014 at 2:57pm
Stupid topic..... try again Dave !!!!!
on the 1st March, 2014 at 2:27pm
Buffon is simply the best and remains Number 1 of all time, so everybody who suggests that Buffon should be retired and Juve is going to have new Goalkeeper, is simply dumb and understands nothing in Italian Football. Juve is greatest love of my life and i can,t imagine Juve in the next 3-4 years without Buffon. The autor of article is highly uncompetent if he really believes that Juve try to have new Keeper. Please come in Torino and ask Juve-fans what they,d think about "new Keeper".
on the 1st March, 2014 at 2:05pm
What is this, a joke?
on the 1st March, 2014 at 12:36pm
If its not broken don't try and fix it.

Yes Buffon is getting older, but his performances still justify his position. Yes mistakes have crept in that weren't there 5 years ago, but you only notice them now due to the unbelievable standards he's set whilst becoming, in my eyes, the greatest of all time.

I suggest to anyone who doubts him to get a DVD of his performance for Italy against Bulgaria six months ago in September 2013.

The Juve #1 is not a problem, so don't try and fix it.
on the 1st March, 2014 at 12:08pm
I would like him to step aside this year...that way he'd go out on a high with Juve winning the Scudetto etc. Otherwise it would be a tragedy for such a legend to bow out after his performances noticeably decline. Go out on top Gigi, you know it makes sense.
on the 1st March, 2014 at 11:42am
Prediction of Fabio Capello is like Pele whose prophecy never turns right. Except the 2 seasons on Juve bench, Capello was always bickering about Old Lady. He vowed never to work at Juve, but left Roma in secrecy along with Emerson. Following Calciopoli he was the first to jumpship Juve & took F.Canna to Real Madrid with him. Once a traitor always a traitor.
This article based on mostly what Capello said & we all know he can't stomach what Juve is achieving with Conte & Co.
on the 1st March, 2014 at 11:40am
BLASPHEMY! A future great coach, agreed, but only after he's retired and has nothing left on the field. We're a long way from that day.
on the 1st March, 2014 at 10:43am
We must have him for at least another couple of seasons. I would like to see him lift the Champions League in the near future!
on the 1st March, 2014 at 10:22am

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