Gianluigi Buffon has promised Juventus fans that the team will give their all in a crucial double-header against Lazio and Napoli.
The Bianconeri travel to Lazio’s Stadio Olimpico on Saturday night having won, and not conceded a goal, in their last two visits to face the Aquile. Buffon admits that a third such similar result could prove important.
“In terms of the League rankings in the long run, Saturday night’s result will decide very little. However, it would boost our morale for the rest of championship.”
The goalkeeper took time to reflect on Miroslav Klose’s impact since arriving in Italy this summer and intimated to Juve's official website that he is likely to be the danger-man to look out for at the weekend.
“He is one of the few strikers, in the fullest sense of the term, that remains in circulation. I’ve always appreciated him as a scorer, but in seeing him at work in Italy I have discovered other qualities - technique, speed and cunning.”
The trip to the Olimpico is immediately followed by Tuesday’s rearranged away date with Napoli at the San Paolo.
“There are easier games in the championship, but we are focused and couldn’t be anything else under our Coach. We understand the importance of these two fixtures. They’re two important tests in which we’ll fight tooth and nail.”
Juventus go into these games with the joint second-best defensive record in the League, having conceded just seven times from 11 games played.
“If we’re conceding few goals it’s because the defensive aspects of the team are working well. And that starts from the strikers who this year, alongside the midfielders, are giving us a big hand.
“We currently have one of the strongest midfields in Europe: we can count on [Claudio] Marchisio who’s in blinding form, on [Andrea] Pirlo, who’s the best a team could have in that role, and on [Arturo] Vidal, who’s the true revelation of this championship.
“He fights for every ball, he’s always there in every situation… He’s one of those players who would have found a spot even at the time when Juve were at their peak. The quality’s improved with respect to last year and we’re having less injury problems.
“And then the Coach’s style of play gives us great aggression and this provides awareness. When you have such a passionate manager, he manages to bring across his desire and anger.”
Buffon then reflected on his return to full fitness after recent troubles, and his secret to maintaining his form and conditioning.
“The secret is to always challenge your own attitudes and know that if you have the basics, the determination and the desire to write more important history, you can do it.
“All of this requires you to make sacrifices, but it’s worth it.
“I’ve lost four or five kilos. I don’t know how much it helps me, because in the last 10 years I’ve always weighed 93, 94 kilos and now I’m 88, 89.
“I feel good, but I believe that the real reason behind getting back to my usual levels is that I’ve had the opportunity to train daily without being constrained, which has also liberated me psychologically speaking.”
This month saw Buffon equal Dino Zoff’s 112 appearances for the Italian national team.
“It’s something that fills me with pride. He’s part of that small category of ‘established giants’ in football. Going alongside him in such a prestigious group was a great feeling.”