Friday May 11 2012
Buffon: 'Juventus butterfly'

Gigi Buffon describes how he felt when giving away that Lecce goal and how Juventus “transformed from caterpillar to butterfly” for the Scudetto.

The title was thrown back into doubt in a 1-1 draw with 10-man Lecce when the goalkeeper’s howler handed Andrea Bertolacci an open goal.

“From the ground I could see Bertolacci running towards the goal and I said to myself… relax, it’s just a film, now something will happen. He might faint before he gets there,” Buffon told Tuttosport.

“It’s not a good sensation, even if with Antonio Conte and my teammates at the start of the season we had taken into account something horrible could happen.

“I remember the silence straight after that idiotic thing I did. It kills you. At that point you have to ask yourself: will they massacre me or hold me up by the shoulders?”

He and Juve recovered to celebrate the Scudetto six years after going into Serie B due to the Calciopoli scandal.

“It was worth it. In many moments over the past six years I reached some conclusions, working things over in my mind. Not always, but some certainties did waver. It can happen. But then I meditated on my successes. The fans helped me in many moments.

“We had realised from the start of the season that we’d be able to put together something extraordinary. Talking about it in August or September would’ve been madness… It was a victory of the squad, just as for Italy in the 2006 World Cup. During this journey we transformed from caterpillar to butterfly.”

There was also controversy, most notably with Milan’s complaints about the Sulley Ali Muntari shot that Buffon batted away after it had crossed the line.

“Unfortunately, in Italy winning and being applauded by your opponents is unlikely. It’s a concept that sits uneasily with most people here,” sighed the goalkeeper.

“Objectively, I see no other solution for myself, at least as long as I remain an important player. When I am not crucial any more, it’s legitimate for me to take that into consideration. In any case, I am ready to sign a contract extension.

“Alessandro Del Piero won’t be here next year, but I am sure our rapport and his relationship with Juventus will continue. I advise him to stay relaxed and be proud: he’ll be number one for eternity.

“I want to be competitive and that must be our objective in the Champions League. Our last success in this tournament was 16 years ago and even the stellar Juventus I was part of could not repeat that. After all, Real Madrid have spent €800m and still can’t lift that trophy again.

“With two or three careful signings, our team can be solid and important. If we faced Barcelona? I don’t know how that would end, as it’d still be a game of football…”