Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon discusses the end of his career and praises Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne: 'He can take the Azzurri to the next level.'
The Italy captain saw his team produce an excellent game against Spain last Thursday as they drew 1-1 with the holding European champions.
The game was somewhat overshadowed by polemics over Coach Antonio Conte's departure and speculation over his possible successor.
“There are many candidates, but I don't have anyone in mind,” the 'keeper told Rai Sport. “What I do hope is that we continue on the path started by Conte. It's a pleasure seeing how he trains us, and we're eager to learn.
“Someone like Conte struggles to stay away from the pitch. These two years have been an exception for him. But he blazed a path with the national team, and Italy need to go in the direction of modern football.
“Our team struggles to play with the talents of four or five years ago, so we have to work, work, work. The results of that are self-evident: on the pitch we're compact and coordinated.”
His Juventus teammates Leonardo Bonucci and Simone Zaza could move away in the summer.
“I'm not afraid to lose them. They're smart kids and they know that at Juventus there's an important project, and a dream: that of reaching another Champions League final within two years.
“As for me, I'm coming to the end of my career, but it's a happy end. I'm living my golden age. I can look with satisfaction at everything I've done and share it with those who are around me.”
Buffon recently wrote an unusual 'letter to the goal', in which he described his relationship with the area he defends.
“It's like the relationship between Valentino Rossi and his motorcycle. You've seen the way he caresses it? There's a visceral relationship between myself and the goal. Every goal I concede is a slap to the goal and to myself.”
Buffon then discussed Lorenzo Insigne and the other new Azzurri youngsters.
“With his qualities, and considering the championship he is having and the high expectations of his fans, Insigne is a guy who can take us to the next level. He can make the difference.
“After the 2010 World Cup I let off some steam against youngsters, but now I see that a new cycle has begun. I see young players that are willing to learn.
“And I see enormous technical ability among them, which we'd been a bit short of in the last few years. It makes me feel hopeful. It's a seed that will eventually give fruit.”
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