Wednesday May 23 2018
Gigi, save yourself

With Gigi Buffon yet to make a decision, Adam Digby implores the Juventus legend to hang up his gloves while he’s still considered the greatest of all time.

“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference,” reads American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer, words that are often cited, quoted and used in difficult situations.

After a stellar career played out at the highest level, Gigi Buffon – a man labelled an inspirational leader who has regularly motivated his teams in arduous circumstances – should hopefully be able to muster the appropriate understanding of his current position.

However, at a specially arranged press conference last week, the Juventus skipper dropped a bombshell. Widely expected to retire once the club’s 2017-18 campaign came to an end, Buffon instead informed the journalists in attendance that he was only announcing that the Serie A match with Hellas Verona would be his last for the Bianconeri.

Yes, despite being offered a number of off-field roles by the Turin giants, the Carrara native was not satisfied and had decided to assess various offers to keep playing. Paris Saint-Germain are now said to be in advanced talks while Real Madrid, Liverpool, Chelsea and even Manchester City are all believed to have expressed an interest in signing him.

Could we really be about to witness the sight of Buffon – who has become almost as synonymous with Juve as the famous black and white stripes on their shirts – running out for a different club next term? Fans of the Old Lady are understandably concerned at the thought. They have already looked on in horror as Alessandro Del Piero was basically forced to move on, spending time with Sydney FC and Delhi Dynamos because he was not ready to call time on his career.

Buffon’s current team-mates are less worried, with Andrea Barzagli speaking out about what the future may hold for his long-time friend. “I don’t know where he’ll go, it’s a surprise,” the veteran defender told Sky Italia at the weekend. “He’ll make the right choice. I have always told him everything and we have a great rapport. We’ll miss him, he’s a leader and the greatest goalkeeper of all time.”

It is to be hoped that the 2006 World Cup winner does indeed show sound judgment, because that opinion of him expressed by Barzagli should not be diminished by a prolonged end to his playing days. There is little doubt that many people share the same opinion, the incredible standard of Buffon’s performances seeing him surpass Gordon Banks, Lev Yashin and even Dino Zoff in the pantheon of goalkeeping legends.

Clearly he loves to play and – one or two errors aside – has still been excellent this term, but hanging around for another season will surely see his skills begin to diminish in the near future. Yes, he has repaid any debt to Juventus and their fans with 17 years of exemplary service, but the Ligue 1 side are no more likely to win the Champions League than the Bianconeri, so it’s not as if this can be explained as a man chasing his dreams.

Nobody wants to watch a subpar Buffon trotting out and conceding goals that he would’ve stopped easily in his prime and after seeing him every day in training this year, Juve have clearly decided his time is up. He has nothing left to prove and everything to lose. It is now up to him to realise that too, or else risk tarnishing the legacy he has spent a lifetime building for one last payday in the French capital.

Father Time remains undefeated, and even the best goalkeeper ever cannot be expected to deny him for too much longer. It’s time to walk away, and hopefully Gigi Buffon has the wisdom to understand that.

Have your say...
Hi Adam, I agree to an extent. I believe that diminished performances in another team won’t tarnish his legacy, take Michael Jordan or Michael Schumacher as examples. In the long term everyone will remember his greatest years, and there were so many of them.
on the 23rd May, 2018 at 3:03pm
Champions League and he doubles his salary. The man wants to win the CL and I don't blame him for that. It shows hunger still. Juve made a decision, they kept Allegri. I also think Buffon realized that with Allegri at the helm, the CL is questionable. While PSG are not closer to winning it, the management is clear that their priority is the CL while Juve seems content to just win Serie A. Its a good match for Buffon at the end of the day. Both team and keeper are desperate to win that cup.
on the 23rd May, 2018 at 2:52pm
"considered the greatest of all time" LOL by who?
on the 23rd May, 2018 at 2:51pm
So you guys don't say in the build up and aftermath of his final match for Juventus and the first thing to come out is a critical piece? Niiiiiice...
on the 23rd May, 2018 at 2:39pm
Who are you to tell Gigi to save himself ?
on the 23rd May, 2018 at 2:38pm
People understand that time takes it’s toll. It doesnt matter if he plays on or not, his greatness will never be undone. If he wants to get paid silly money to play in goal still (which is pretty much as safe as it gets) in a league that will employ him as a cheerleader (PSG walk the title). He will be having another roll of the dice at the champions league, in a team willing to throw money at people. Sounds great, i hope he continues if he doesnt feel ready to give up. Forza Gigi
on the 23rd May, 2018 at 2:13pm

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