We have all, be honest, gone back for one final extra plateful from the all-you-can-eat buffet. Even though the last buckle hole on your belt might be crying out for mercy, how many of us can resist just another nibble at the delights on display? So who among us could really blame Gianluigi Buffon if he does indeed go back to the scene of his greatest triumphs, Juventus, for one more hurrah?
It makes a minor mockery, of course, of our fond farewells of last summer when it was actually just au revoir. Maybe, like a bad divorce, neither party actually got what they were looking for in the separation. Certainly Superman did not get his hands on the only important trophy to elude him - the Champions League - after spending some time with the nouveau riche at PSG. Then again, the Bianconeri couldn’t take that title either, despite splashing out on a certain CR7. Can’t live with you, can’t live without you, perhaps?
There’s a clear and present danger, no doubt, in trying to turn back the clock for both club and player. These deals - as has been pointed out before - have a whiff of minestra riscaldata (reheated soup) about them. And, at the age of 41, Buffon has certainly been bubbling on the Serie A stove for some time. So what can he possibly hope to achieve from this potential reunion? And how can it be of assistance to a side that did perfectly well in his absence?
The answers are many, despite his advancing years. Yes, there is a danger that he tarnishes the image that he acquired in his first spell, but surely he is in healthy credit in that regard. As for the Turin giants, they regain a figurehead - and still a decent player - that few can really rival. In addition, they both have a bit of unfinished business that they would love to complete.
All the rumblings of the deal have indicated a humble approach, despite his legendary status. He is willing to see his wages drop - almost inevitable when you leave Paris - and does not expect the captaincy or the Number 1 jersey, according to reports. They have even suggested he is willing to be back-up to Wojciech Szczesny - although that would surely put the first-choice keeper in a mildly uncomfortable position to say the least. Imagine trying to impress your new girlfriend or boyfriend while a former partner is waiting in the wings to whisk them away in their Ferrari. No pressure there then.
It also pushes the promising Mattia Perin to the margins, but La Vecchia Signora is not really big on sentiment. This is a club which is all about winning - in the past, in the present and in the future. If they believe Buffon's return gives them the best chance of taking more trophies, they will not give a finest Italian fig about player development. They have such a full tank of young talent anyway that they really don't have too much cause for concern in that regard.
On the playing front, he certainly represents a truly luxury second-choice goalkeeper. There are reports he wants to guarantee the handful of appearances he needs in Serie A to overhaul Paolo Maldini at the top of the all-time table. If that is the case, Juve can surely allow him such matches against Italy's more lowly opposition or once they have the league sealed up yet again - go ask Norberto Neto about that role. That would be the first target of the second chapter of Buffon’s time in black and white achieved.
There is also an off-the-pitch element of the deal which is not to be underestimated. The coaching change in Turin - from Max Allegri to Maurizio Sarri - is a pretty major one and who better to smooth things over than one of their old senators? Both the new Coach and the old shot-stopper have Tuscan roots and might well prove a productive double act at a time of transition. The Bianconeri, with their eye for every detail, will surely have taken into account the ambassadorial role Gigi could play - a conduit between the tactician and his troops.
But, above all, there is that irresistible itch that both player and club wish to scratch. Buffon tried a move to get it and Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo in their pursuit of the dream. They were both, ultimately, thwarted. But the character of both the footballer and his team suggest that they will come back and try again. Italy’s greatest goalie and its most Scudetto-rich side are ready to amble up to the Champions League table for one final foray. They couldn’t possibly swan off with the prize that clearly remains an almost all-consuming obsession for them both, could they?
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://www.premiersports.com/subscribenow