It is ironic that in the same week Gianluigi Buffon signed for Paris Saint-Germain to continue his Champions League dream, Juventus should bring in Cristiano Ronaldo, the man who has made European glory seem de rigeur.
After 17 trophy-laden years with the Italian giants, legendary shot-stopper Buffon called time on not only his illustrious Bianconeri career, but his time in Italy at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.
The 40-year-old has finally put pen to paper on a short-term deal with French heavyweights PSG, and a new challenge awaits the veteran. For Buffon, the chance to continue his playing days at such a big club could not be ignored, and while Juventus will surely be in the running for another domestic double (or even a Treble), so too will his new employers.
It will be the European stage that determines the success of the move. The Tuscan native leaves behind a side who have twice come agonisingly close in recent years in their attempt at winning the Champions League. At PSG, the European aspirations are similar, and it will be another summer of heavy investment in Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s quest to win the biggest club honour on the continent.
From a playing perspective, while Buffon may be entering his 23rd season as a professional, he is undoubtedly still good enough to perform at a high level, particularly in a league where the Parisians have total dominance.
Sure, the goalkeeper will face difficult encounters against the likes of Monaco, Marseille and Lyon, but it will be in Europe where he is truly tested. Furthermore, the ex-Bianconeri custodian has not made any glaring errors over the last couple of seasons and deserves another shot at the only honour that has eluded him. Buffon’s game time will be managed efficiently, and he won’t be expected to play 50 games in all competitions.
Ultimately, much will depend on how the Parma youth graduate’s teams past and present fare between August and May.
With Real Madrid superstar and five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo officially joining Juventus, it would be easy for the Italian to have regrets, particularly with the Portuguese’s outstanding European form.
Ronaldo can be a game changer, instantly making Juventus one of three favourites for Champions League glory. Equally, Buffon’s presence will elevate PSG. He is a bona fide legend of the game, a player who will not accept below-par performances from his team-mates, and the new association with the prodigious talent of Kylian Mbappé and record buy Neymar could lead to a fitting swansong of an historic career.
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