Wednesday April 25 2018
Buffon: 'Juve would congratulate Napoli'

Gigi Buffon denied reports of a clash with Juventus teammate Medhi Benatia and insisted they’ll “have no problems congratulating” Napoli after a fascinating campaign.

The rumours emerged after the 1-0 home defeat to Napoli, which cut the gap at the top of the table to just one point, that Buffon had blamed Benatia for a last-minute error in a heated locker room row.

“Gossip blatantly invented following a defeat. There are teams like Juventus who don’t seem to have an Achilles Heel, so they try to mine our certainties and damage our union,” the goalkeeper told JTV.

“As has always happened in my time at Juve, in certain moments I find it logical and only right that we all confront each other. However, nobody in all these years has ever dared point the finger at one person or blame them for a defeat or error.

“As long as I am captain of this team, that will never happen. A lad like Medhi, who is extremely respectful and has wed the Juve cause, understands the timing and need to intervene or not in a group situation, it’s sad for me to be here having to deny this story. Medhi never showed a lack of respect towards me or the rest of the team. Unfortunately, I do need to do it because these stories have emerged and they are very damaging to a lovely guy like Medhi.”

Napoli are now only one point behind Juventus with four rounds left to play and the Bianconeri still have to face Inter and Roma.

“It really is becoming a fascinating campaign fought point for point. We’ve dropped five very important points over the last few days and are still top, albeit with a very slender lead, that we must hold on to until the finish line.

“That has to be our objective and our duty. We’ll do everything to ensure that happens, because a nine-month run like that has used up an enormous amount of energy, but there are 20 days left and we’ve got to get our heads back in the tank to surge forward.

“Of course, if the opposition is better than us, we’ll tip our hats to them. Whoever wins over a 38-game season is up there because they deserve to be, as the errors and lucky moments balance out. We’ll have no problem shaking their hands and congratulating them.

“There are some big fixtures coming up, including the Coppa Italia Final with Milan, 20 days in which we must return to the field with sporting ferocity and even brutality to reach our target.

“I tell the fans we must be united, otherwise we’re doing what the opposition want, which is to throw in fake stories to create cracks – and never achieved that aim.

“I hope the Juventus fans can unite and help give the team that protection we need to have 20 days that really reflect Juventus.”

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