Juventus captain Gigi Buffon admits Antonio Conte quitting two days into pre-season training is “a bolt from the blue.”
The announcement was made this evening with Conte recording a video message on the club’s official website, even though pre-season training only began yesterday.
“It was an unexpected decision, a bolt from the blue,” said Buffon at a Press conference that had already been organised for the club he owns shares in – Carrarese.
“Seeing the words used and the tone of the messages, we can see both the Coach and club reached this decision by mutual consent without any type of anger.
“Probably it is something that matured over time and had been brewing for a while until it reached its epilogue today.
“The reason? I don’t know, as I haven’t spoken to him, though I will do as soon as possible. When you reach decisions like this, the only reason can be you no longer want to continue this type of work.”
Conte had a contract until June 30 2015, but renewal talks faltered and the sudden decision to terminate by mutual consent occurred very quickly, considering pre-season training only began on Monday.
“Maybe something happened over the last few days that destabilised the situation,” mused Buffon.
“Juventus lose a great deal, because it’s pointless denying what our Coach truly brings to the team and how much of the credit he deserves for the last three years.
“It is true that over these years we have all matured, so we have a solid club and directors who will be able to cover this serious loss.
“We players also need to do everything we can to find that sense of responsibility and prove we can do it too. It is important to send that signal.”
Among the candidates to replace Conte are Luciano Spalletti, Massimiliano Allegri and Roberto Mancini.
“It is not Year Zero, as over the three years we have all matured, thanks also to the Coach and club. It is exciting.
“Am I worried? We don’t know who will arrive, so I look to the present and say we have lost a wonderful Coach, an extra value, but the fundamental players remain and a solid club that will be able to work towards a great Juventus.
“These are the certainties the fans should rely on and relax knowing they are there.”
Buffon was asked whether Conte would now become the new Italy Coach, replacing Cesare Prandelli after the dismal World Cup.
“I am certainly not surprised by your fervid fantasies, in fact I have to smile because you know your jobs.
“I think the Coach is not thinking about the future, but in a very calm and relaxed manner is discussing his irrevocable decision.
“Will he reconsider? I really doubt it, as when official statements with video messages are released, that’s pretty much it.”