La Gazzetta dello Sport stand by their report on Gigi Buffon’s controversial comments to Juventus teammates, but warn there was no hint of lacking fair play.
The situation exploded mostly via social media on Friday when the Gazzetta reported Buffon shouted at his teammates following a 1-1 draw with Olympique Lyonnais.
“Lads, like this we’re going nowhere,” he was quoted as saying in the locker room – something a Juventus statement denied, but today the newspaper reaffirmed.
“In Italy we win because the others step aside, but in Europe that’s not happening and it won’t happen. In Italy the only two teams that didn’t get out of the way beat us (referring to Inter and Milan).
“We need more grit, more determination, more desire to help each other out, otherwise we’ll make life more complicated for ourselves and we’ll suffer in the Champions League.”
The use of the phrase ‘si scansano’ created a great deal of controversy, primarily because it can be used in different ways.
It can mean ‘step aside’ or it can represent the getting out of the way of an on-coming object that cannot be stopped.
The former interpretation was adopted by those on social media suggesting it was some sort of Buffon ‘confession’ that teams lie down for Juventus.
However, in an editorial today, La Gazzetta dello Sport clarified they never intended such an interpretation.
“It would take a great, great deal of imagination to think someone is trying to attribute their victories to the complacency of the opposition,” wrote Andrea Monti.
“The reality is more simple: what do you do if a train is coming straight at you, a tank, a bus full of cannibals able to devour five consecutive Scudetto? You get out of the way to not be crushed, try some damage limitation, get psychologically ready for impact or find a way to avoid falling into their path.
“In football terms that represents only taking a more defensive approach and accepting the initiative of the opposition, trying to play on the counter-attack.
“Unfortunately, history teaches us that this doesn’t work with Juventus, as eight times out of 10 they’ll score a goal and get three points without even having to work that hard. That is all.
“We write this to give no hope to the extremists of the Internet who are seeking an enemy at all costs. If this is their objective, they will be disappointed.”
Much was made of a comment Sky Sport Italia pundit Gianluca Vialli made to Sampdoria Coach Marco Giampaolo after a 4-1 defeat at Juventus in the midweek round, when many stars were rested, and the 1-0 victory over Inter.
“That was a smart move, as they say in England, you pick the fights you can win.”
La Gazzetta dello Sport, as part of the Buffon coverage today, also quoted Giampaolo’s quotes on the squad rotation.
“Against Juve I knew we’d have trouble with their physicality, technique and experience, so I thought it best to safeguard a few players so they’d be in the best condition with Inter. I didn’t want to exhaust my players.”