Saturday December 8 2018
Sirigu: ‘Buffon a symbol for Italy’

Salvatore Sirigu feels Gianluigi Buffon “represents Italian football”, and gives his opinion on the next generation of Italian goalkeepers.

The Torino ‘keeper spent many years as backup to Buffon in the Italy squad, and the veteran is now with Sirigu’s former club, Paris Saint-Germain.

In an interview with Corriere della Sera the Granata goalkeeper was asked what he does in his spare time, and that brought up the topic of Buffon.

“Leisure time is relative, work doesn’t begin and end with daily training sessions,” Sirigu pointed out.

“Take Buffon, his career isn’t just about technical and mental qualities. I’ve never seen Gigi fat, for example. Details don’t stop with training.

“Buffon at PSG? We talk, we’re friends. I’m proud that a man like him represents Italian football abroad. I’ve listened to some of his interviews in French, he’s getting along really well.

“It’s a good experience [playing abroad]. There’s teasing of course, we all carry clichés with us, whether we’re Italian or French.

“Then you discover the differences, the nuances. Living in Paris helped me understand France, the difference between a Breton and someone who was born in the south.”

Perin is now very much the elder statesman of the Azzurri squad, ahead of Gianluigi Donnarumma and Mattia Perin.

“It’s amazing how much space he [Donnarumma] can occupy and how explosive he is. He’s strong and solid, he has great qualities.

“He can still improve a lot, that applies to everyone, including Mattia and myself. Perin has skill and also character. He’s been brilliant at dealing with injuries and starting again. He’s getting what he deserves.”

The goalkeeper also assessed Torino, as well as reflecting on Walter Mazzarri’s recent hospitalisation.

“We can and must improve. But we are finding a balance that in the past we lacked.

“As for Mazzarri, I didn’t know he was ill. He worried us, a bond of love has been created between us.

“He can be very harsh too, but that’s fine by me. I tell the younger ones: ‘the teachings of this Coach will be used throughout your career’.

“With respectability you won’t improve, with sincerity you will.”

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