Tuesday February 27 2018
Buffon: ‘Juventus were presumptuous’

Gigi Buffon feels Juventus were “too presumptuous” against Real Madrid in last year’s Champions League final.

The Bianconeri have reached the final of the competition three times with the veteran in goal, but they’ve lost every time and were thrashed 4-1 by Real Madrid last season.

“Look, I’ve been a protagonist in three lost finals,” Buffon pointed out in his interview with Tiki Taka.

“I don’t know if that could have an effect, but against Milan [in 2003] we lost because we missed three penalties out of five, something that only happens to me by the way!

“It happened in that final with Milan, it happened with Germany at the Euros, we missed three out of five and it also happened to me against Napoli, we missed four out of eight.

“Then in the past three years we met Barcelona who, unfortunately for us, were just a superior team and despite that we were in the game until the end.

“Maybe we deservedly lost, but it came down to incidents. Then we met Real Madrid and that’s the only game where we were a bit too presumptuous.

“We came in to the game mistakenly thinking we could play on par with them, or play football just like them.

“If you see a team like Real Madrid - just look at the names - and think that way it means you’ve evaluated the opponent badly.”

Juve have won the Scudetto for the past six years in a row, but this weekend’s postponed game with Atalanta allowed Napoli to go four points clear with last night’s win over Spal.

“Psychologically and mathematically it was definitely better at +1, that’s inevitable.

“We’re a team though, we’re battlers and fighters so we know if we want to get the seventh consecutive Scudetto this year we’ll really have to pull off… I won’t say a miracle, but something amazing and extraordinary because Napoli really aren’t giving anything away.”

Gigi was then asked if he’d want the Partenopei to take the title if he wasn’t the Juventus goalkeeper…

“I’ll tell you the truth, I think beyond being the Juventus goalkeeper I’m a fan of sport,” Buffon replied with a laugh.

“I like stories of feeling, of passion, and in Naples and Neapolitan sport you have all of that.

“What disappointed me - and I say this solely as an Italian and a lover of football - was seeing how Napoli went out of a cup [the Europa League] they could have made their own.

“In the end it comes down to playing two or three more games, a team like Napoli had the potential to play their cards better and get to the end.

“Unlike what [Corrado] Ferlaino said, that he cheered for Juve up to the final and then no, I’d have cheered Napoli in the final, hoping for them to win.

“It’s right that a team that plays so well, that plays the football they do, is rewarded.

“I think Napoli are a team in their attacking phase, but they also have incredible individuals when you look at [Jose] Callejon, [Dries] Mertens, [Lorenzo] Insigne, and [Marek] Hamsik. Right now Allan is an added value too.”

Could Italy have qualified for the World Cup with Insigne on the pitch against Sweden?

“I’ll tell you instead how I saw Insigne after the Sweden game. For me Lorenzo proved himself to be a champion then, an extremely mature player who thinks about the group.

“When the Sweden match ended he didn’t make a statement against the Coach, he didn’t try to be a polemical player which says a lot about Lorenzo’s growth in the past few years.

“Pepe Reina? He’s a great goalkeeper, very decisive, especially in Napoli’s style of play which he has such a big impact on.

“As well as his saves, he also starts the action with how he can find his teammates with his feet.

“He’s a goalkeeper who has an impact on the team and on the matches, because he has a great personality and great charisma.

“Many times that brings you more points than making saves.”

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