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 stopper Gianluigi Buffon…
Firenze. “I hope Juve is in second place when I return, so that I come in and we can win the Scudetto. I can already picture the headlines: Buffon gives the Bianconeri the last push” . Fun and easy-going. The usual Buffon. First he plays the perfect student at the convention ‘Il calcio e chi lo racconta’, organized by the sports press union, then he jokes non-stop in the yard of the technical centre in Coverciano. The first subject is Del Piero. “I’m the only one that can save his free-kicks. As I train with Ale, I know all his secrets”.
Three matches, three goals from free-kicks
“The free-kick against Chievo was unsavable. The one against Real instead… Casillas could have done better. By now Ale performs this technical move automatically. I’m not surprised, you should see how much he trains. Everyday, at the end of the training session, he devotes 30 minutes to free-kicks. He’s become the nightmare of goalkeepers, like Mihajlovic used to be. With him Juve can dream about the Scudetto and any other target”.
How did you feel when Ale left the Bernabeu silent?
“I thought that in only two years he had gone from drawing with Rimini to destroying Real. He must have felt an incredible joy. I, instead, have to suffer sitting on the grandstand. But the six consecutive victories show that I’m not irreplaceable”.
Lippi said that for the moment he won’t call Del Piero up.
“I don’t want to be involved with this matter. We are talking about two people that know each other very well. And that admire each other. Then again…”
The championship is quite open.
“True. But Inter is still the team to defeat”.
Ranieri and Mourinho have been teasing each other from the very first day.
“Skirmishes. For the journalists’ entertainment”.
Ranieri’s bench is stronger than ever.
“If you think that some had excommunicated him! In the moment of crisis Ranieri stood strong inside the group. As Ancelotti said: not on the changing-room but in it”.
What about Mourinho?
“He gives me positive feelings. He seems to me a clever, cultured person. Maybe out of the ordinary for how us Italians understand football”.
Is it stronger Mourinho’s Inter or Mancini’s?
“I’ll answer this at the end of the tournament”.
Don’t you think people expect too much from this Juve?
“The club, supporters and history always impose upon us to aim for the top. Last year it was different because Juve had come from Serie B. There was a little more patience. But pressure shouldn’t frighten us”.
On Thursday there is Juve-Genoa.
“I like Genoa. They play some good football, they’ve got a great coach and a tremendous centre forward like Milito. Plus they found a champion like Thiago Motta. By the way: finally in Juve we saw the true Tiago in action”.
You defended Gilardino.
“The hand goal in Palermo was certainly a bad thing. But some tried to criminalise Gila. And I didn’t like it. I think the two-day disqualification was an exaggerated response.