Originally published in la Gazzetta dello Sport
Every week Football Italiano brings you a translation of one of la Gazzetta dello Sport’s interviews with a major name from the world of Italian football. This time it is the turn of Juventus shot-stopper Gianluigi Buffon…
CARRARA. Gigi Buffon hasn’t said goodbye to the Scudetto yet, because although he believes that European football can always affect the league unpredictably, he still hopes to win the title. The Juventus goalkeeper actually pays compliments to Inter and focuses on “what’s left on the table”. Which is not a token prize as he’s always been convinced that Juve are made for Europe. One week away from the Stamford Bridge challenge, his message is clear. Gigi speaks from his hometown, at the inauguration of the little football pitch that he, together with the AIC (Italian Association of Footballers), donated to the company where his father used to work. There is the parish priest, the mayor, lots of children and in the background the local marble caves. In the middle there’s him, scruffy-haired and smiling.
Have Inter run away with it then?
“They gained points on us and on Milan. They were already strong before, but now with a nine point lead, they’re even stronger. There’s not much to say, we can only applaud”.
What about the derby handball goal?
“These things happen. This time it happened to Adriano, but his good faith is not in doubt. Favourable situations don’t change people’s values”.
Do you still believe in winning the Scudetto? After all you’re the same distance behind that Roma were last year.
“This teaches you not to give up, and never to lose hope, also because the way the Italian teams do in the Champions League can affect the championship. If we were at the same level for one night, it means that we can still compete”.
But since Sunday evening Europe has become a little bit more important to you?
“The Champions League has always been important, during our Golden Age it was the chief aim. Now we would be content even with the Scudetto, but we need to make the best out of a bad situation and see what’s left on the table. So now it’s better to focus on Europe”.
Besides, many are convinced that Juve are better equipped for the Champions League.
“I’ve been saying it since July and the day of truth is getting closer. I would have preferred Scolari to be dismissed by Chelsea later on though, because these changes always produce immediate results. Plus it’s even harder if as good a manager as Hiddink arrives”.
Last Sunday there was his assistant, Ray Wilkins, spying on you. What went wrong?
“I don’t like looking for alibis, but after hitting the post four times we’ve been obviously unlucky. Plus there should be some continuity: against Cagliari and Sampdoria we lost important points at home. I don’t feel happy either, I let in some silly goals”.
And they’ve been all very similar lately: why is that?
“It’s a matter of team movements: if a defender doesn’t make the right one, we’re unprepared. It hadn’t happened till January, but now some people are not at their best and this leads to making mistakes. I’m still confident we’ve got the best defence of the championship. But there are also the opponents to consider: last Sunday Cassano did something spectacular”.
Would you like him to play for Juve?
“I’m not a director yet. But it’s a sign that the supporters clapped him. Juve are always keeping an eye on him and his behaviour has improved”.
Amauri began to score again: will he be a team mate or an opponent at the World Cup?
“At this point I think he’ll be an opponent. After all Dunga called him up”.
Are you going to stay at Juve?
“Probably for a long time. I want to keep on living in Turin. The future is bright”.