Gianluigi Buffon has blasted the Juventus critics who said he was finished. “They’re peasants! As for the Scudetto, Milan remain the favourites.”
The goalkeeper gave a lengthy end of year interview to the Gazzetta dello Sport looking back at a mixed 2011 for Juventus and ahead to 2012.
“There has been an evident change of direction from July onwards, but getting ahead of ourselves would be stupid,” said Buffon.
“We are not even halfway there and up until now the journey has been a strain in every respect, including psychologically. All it takes is a moment and you find yourself back on the floor. I never want to experience those first few months of 2011 again. It was awful.
“However, I wouldn’t blame Gigi Del Neri, as he is a great Coach and a good man. He was just unlucky. With a far weaker Juventus side than the current one, he was in the Scudetto race until December 2010, then in January it all went wrong. Endless injuries, heavy bans, we often ended up playing the youth team.”
Buffon is an open and gregarious person, but explains why he has been so quiet in the media over recent months.
“Some of you said I was finished. You know me, I am incapable of faking. In these 6-7 months I heard things that really hurt. There was also a grave lack of respect from people who haven’t the slightest thought for my career.
“History must never be cancelled. I tell some people that in 50 years, despite the bad period of form I went through recently, people will probably still be talking about Buffon. This means I’ve done something good. Those who tore me to shreds are just peasants!
“I want to deserve Juve for life. My objective is to stay, but only as the real Buffon. I’ve been here for over 10 years and will remain until I’m at least 34, so I’m proud of what I have achieved. You don’t stay this long at a top club if you lack quality.”
However, ‘SuperGigi’ is keeping his feet on the ground when it comes to 2012.
“Milan remain the favourites for me. Our primary focus is returning to the Champions League, as that is the priority. After finishing seventh twice in a row, nobody thought we’d have this position at the end of December.
“As for Euro 2012, I’ve been enthusiastic about this Nazionale for a while. I like the way we play and Cesare Prandelli’s new philosophy.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.