Wednesday July 3 2019
The last temptation of Gigi

Gianluigi Buffon’s return to Juventus after just one year benefits both player and club, assures Giancarlo Rinaldi, and is far tastier than reheated soup.

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?

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Have your say...
I think if Juve can close De Ligt deal along with one of Zaniolo/Icardi, then we are good. Buffon is a useful presence in the locker room. He will help steady the ship should it rock. Let Perin shine elsewhere as I believe he is beat Italian keeper even better than Donnarumma.
on the 7th July, 2019 at 5:30pm
Matthijs de Ligt - last piece in the jigsaw.
on the 5th July, 2019 at 10:33am
I dont understand the negativity in the comment section - all of it undoubtedly comes from people who have never stepped foot near a pitch. Juventus is currently in a state of transition and Buffon's presence is in the change room represents as good a signing as any in the world. More to the point him accepting a squad role is fantastic. In terms of reliability, experience trumps youth when called upon.
on the 5th July, 2019 at 4:17am
@mmmm 'especially with super ego presence of Ronaldo'

All the players have spoken extremely highly of the positive impact Ronaldo has had in the dressing room and in training. Some even directly said he filled the hole left by Buffon, and I'm pretty sure Chiellini was one of the players who said it.

This idea Ronaldo has some sort of selfish detrimental attitude on players around him is utter nonsense and the complete opposite of the truth.
on the 5th July, 2019 at 12:34am
I see a lot of Snake-isti and Merdisti masquerading as "serie a" fans or pseudo-juventus aficionados...

I wonder how, with the amount of salty posts these troglodytes and armchair experts are generating will the world ever run out of salt... I guess not.

Every true Juventino is happy with our legend... I just hope Agnelli stops being a dipwad and gets Alex (Del Piero) involved in Juventus' Management, as he can be our greatest treasure in unearthing another "Pinturicchio".

Forza Juve!!!
on the 4th July, 2019 at 4:00pm
Among young Italian goalkeepers I find Alex Meret (FC Napoli) better than Perin.
on the 4th July, 2019 at 12:02pm
I see Buffon is in a wake of the last supper...
on the 4th July, 2019 at 11:57am
serie a lover

No I've seen the goal live and many times. It was a massive deflection from a very powerful shot. Many players from both teams were in front of him as well. Blaming him for that goal is ridiculous.

As for the pressure thing, that's a lot of speculation on your part. But for the sake of argument let's suppose it's true.

It still doesn't explain why Juve was extremely nervous under Conte in Europe, and also in the other final vs Barca where they also couldn't react.
Maybe because Pirlo was leaving?

Juve have always been nervous in Europe since 2012. It has nothing to do with Buffon but has everything to do with the fact that Juve hasn't won it in a long time and lost so many finals.
It became an obsession.
on the 4th July, 2019 at 9:09am
This is a great move, as it allows Perin a move to another club. Where he might showcase his talents for Mancini's Euro 2020 squad. I believe he is the best Italian keeper at the moment but need to play. Donnarumma makes too many little positional mistakes which concedes goals but he'll get better with experience give him 3 seasons but Perin has to fight with Sirigu for the Italia number 1 Jersey.
The chance for Buffon to win the CL, but Juve beware RM and Liv and Barca. I hope we end the curse.
on the 4th July, 2019 at 6:51am
@ Ravanelli u obviously didn't see that goal from casemeiro properly. the deflection came from so far away like outside the box. buffon was just slow to react to it. his obsession to win the c.league weighed heavily in that final vs real madrid.all the commentary from all over was this is the time buffon would win the trophy.that s why the team didn't react when they went 2-1 they were shell shocked. they thought fate was that this was their time.few players even said this in the media
on the 4th July, 2019 at 3:55am
I'm all for Gigi coming back to Juve, but the first thought that crossed my mind was if Szczesny plays most of the games, both CL and League and we somehow make the CL final, who starts ??!!
on the 3rd July, 2019 at 11:25pm
I like Gigi but now he comes back? Cmon man make up your mind. Why did he leave in first place? If he came back to be a keeper coach or on staff then ok...but to be on roster to play with CR7 or win CL is cringey and gluttonous. Retire or go play for different team where you’ll start every game. Then watch how fast he retires when he’s bleeding goals for mid table team. Juve is turning odd with all the constant big money dealings. Lol I almost feel bad for Perin. He totally got scammed.
on the 3rd July, 2019 at 10:09pm
Just his presence in the dressing room is worth welcoming him back. With new players arriving with attitude and big salaries to have Buffon by Chiellini's side is great, especially with super ego presence of Ronaldo. And I don't see nothing wrong with him wanting to break Maldini's record, if he wants it so badly he'd go to Parma and play 30+ games for them...
on the 3rd July, 2019 at 10:07pm
Aaaaaaahhhh will you just retire already, sweet jesus!!! Just go away!
on the 3rd July, 2019 at 9:02pm
It's a bit arrogant of Gigi to come back just so he can break Maldini's record. Think he should just retire with whatever dignity he has left.
on the 3rd July, 2019 at 5:48pm
This is a selfish move by Gigi. His pursuit of the CL was admirable, but now, with this, it is just sad. What happens next year if Juventus don't win it? Will he try to make a move to, say, Manchester City? And Giancarlo is correct about the unsettling effects on the two fine GKs already there. They've worked hard and are both worthy. They don't need this.
on the 3rd July, 2019 at 3:31pm
He does not even deserve to be mentioned with Maldini in the same sentence...
on the 3rd July, 2019 at 3:29pm
Why do we even speak about this chauvinistic dinosaur again?
on the 3rd July, 2019 at 3:28pm
What a pathetic article !!!

Drawing parallels between a random person's gluttony to a world champion par excellence Buffon's desire to end his career with Juventus? Really? That's the best example you could come up with? What a despicable, sham of a writer!

I had commented on another FI article that Gigi should return to Juve to have his swansong and to take up a directorial role. Thus this stands to be an all-round great move.


PS: "serie a lover" is a moron
on the 3rd July, 2019 at 3:16pm
serie a lover

What are you talking about?

Casemiro's goal was a wild deflection. 2 Buffons and a superman couldn't stop that one.

And Juve player have been nervous long before Buffon was nearing retirement. The horrible and shaky CL performances under Conte? The Barca final?
on the 3rd July, 2019 at 12:07pm
i believe buffon has to take some fault for the c.league final. casemeiro goal shouldn't have scored. and I thought he put too much pressure on the other players.they seemed nervous especially when madrid went up 2-1. sentiment all over the news were that juve players were goin to win it for buffon. juve froze when madrid went up 2-1. no reaction. he deserves to pass maldini record. but I have my concerns. he needs to stay quiet and don't disrupt sczeszny. buffon islong past his best is
on the 3rd July, 2019 at 10:17am
"Yes, there is a danger that he tarnishes the image that he acquired in his first spell"

I don't think there is. Casillas had some horrible spells with both club and country but when you think of him you always think of the legend at his best.

Buffon's legend status has already been set in stone.
on the 3rd July, 2019 at 10:08am
This is a good move for both Juve and Gigi. Like it was already outlined in the article.

There's really no negative aspects to this move that I can think of. Everybody wins. And I'm sure most, if not all, Juve fans will be happy to see Buffon in a Juventus jersey for one last season.
on the 3rd July, 2019 at 10:05am

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