Juventus legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon spoke to Juventus TV in an exclusive interview, as he’s leaving the club.
“It was a very peaceful farewell, it is something that I had already experienced 3 years before and consequently it was a déja vu that already gives you cardinal points to cling to in order not to suffer too much.”
“It was nice ending, we sealed the end of the relationship with a beautiful victory and scenes of empathy, friendship and feelings between me and my teammates, between me and all the people. It was very nice.”
“I lived it naturally, the fact that I have returned in these two years leaves in people’s memory the fact that one can leave but can also return.”
“People’s fear is that of feeling abandoned at certain moments. Since I already came back before, here is also the serenity to say:’Come on, maybe in a few years Gigi will find himself with us.’ This makes everything digest in a happier way.”
“I had the Juventus football initiation from my Venetian relatives but basically I never was a Juventino.”
“In all these years then, I have become one, I understood certain dynamics, I made certain values my own and therefore, now I am happier than I was back then because I am a Juventino with a conscience, I chose to be a Juventino. I understood and this is something that pleases me.”
“Many become it by inheritance and do not even ask if they are happy to be. I have become one and this is the best and greatest gift. I remember that day (when he joined Juve), I had tension like in the Champions League final.”
“Not even in the happiest and most optimistic imaginary would I have thought I would still be at Juve as a goalkeeper in 2021. It takes so many things to be able to follow the same path and I didn’t think I could have them and be able to put determination, professionalism and such a class in my profession.”
“I must also say that in my opinion I managed to make this long career because I was permeated with the DNA and value of Juve: work, professionalism to want to improve. These values have made the difference.”
Am I the best ever?
“The real thing is that I never thought about this label, I am pleased to hear the esteem of the people, it is undeniable, in some ways it is also a confirmation of what you have done and makes you understand that you are on the right path, even the judgment of others, if you deem it honest, helps.”
“I don’t like talking about this because football has changed a lot and is more difficult than it was in other eras but there are also tools that weren’t there before and that didn’t allow players to express their best.”
“I believe that in football there are really many icons and wanting to find the best one makes no sense. There are icons and the icons remain so, even when they talk about Pelé, Messi, Maradona, Cristiano… Why do you need to find the best? They were all extraordinary, let’s be content with this.”
“In Trieste, when we won the first championship with Conte. It was the closing of a circle, it gave strength to the choices I had made as a player.”
“We did an incredible cycle but in the end I often thought:’In 2006 I could have gone to any team but I stayed in this one because I believed in it.’ “
“Six years like that weren’t easy, every now and then some worries and some thoughts came to me. The truth is, however, that I always managed to cultivate a faith, a serenity that tells me:’Behave well, do things correctly and life will give you back everything even in excess’. It was like that, I have suffered so much for six years, I was the go-to goalkeeper and I have been away from Europe for 3 years. But that was what I believed in.”
Most painful moment?
“Cardiff… The defeat could have happened, but because we crumbled and disbanded as a team in the second half, we gave the feeling of not being competitive at that highest level, but that wasn’t the truth. It’s one thing to lose 1-0, and another thing to lose 4-1 looking like you ran away, it hurt me.”
“And the other night that hurt me was the exclusion after the 3-1 win in Madrid. It was the best night of my life: only a crazy team could think of passing the shift, but we had it, we said:’We have to hold on to that 0.1% chance.’ which then became 95%. During the game I was proud to play in a such a team made up of such men.”
Did I ever cry for a game?
“I hardly cry for a result, it is how the result occurs that can hurt me and make me sad. The match in Madrid is the best I will remember with Juve, only men could do such a thing!”
“Two things come to mind: the bond, which is something more than a friendship. It is something that unites you in a stronger way, and then that they were good guys. I speak to all three of them, they are three really good guys and it will be difficult to find similar people in today’s world.”
The funniest in the dressing room?
“There has always been a mix between Italians and foreigners but we have always liked to be contaminated by South American flair.”
“We welcomed everyone with open arms and this is one of the reasons why Mario Mandzukic no longer wanted to leave. In the end, I’m not saying we’re tolerant but we can make everyone feel good. There has always been a good atmosphere with everyone, even with Tevez, Pogba, Evra, Khedira… I think everyone was fine.”
Did I ever raise my voice in the dressing room?
“I don’t remember, but it may have happened, these are not things that I mark on the calendar. If I have to say something, I say it without thinking about it. In the end, our strength is that we are responsible, everyone did their part.”
“Juve is something important, Juve for me was like having a master’s degree in football, having had the honor of representing it makes me feel lucky.”
“One thing that bothered me this year, and that was one of the reasons why I said it would be the last year, is to see that the atmosphere of cheering and joy towards the team has faded. At the first difficulties you hear accusations and controversies that real fans do not make. It is not that the first difficulty sinks the players, I do not like this!”
“Another thing was that when I played in Barcelona there was the controversy: ‘But why does Buffon play? He plays because he is a friend of Pirlo’. I said:’I have to get out of this crazy world!’ It meant not being aware of who I am, if I had felt like I couldn’t do it, I would have gotten out of the way. I don’t want any gifts.”
“I didn’t watch Juve at PSG, I believe certain passages must take place and only return to a balance over time. In Paris I had a wonderful experience and I would do it again, it has given me so much from a human point of view. I felt like a citizen of the world, and from technical point of view it was a stratospheric, monstrous team.”
“But I have to tell the truth: one of the things that made me accept to come back when Paratici proposed it to me, is that I thought we would make it to the final.”
“The week after Juve lost 2-0 to Atletico Madrid, my personal joy for PSG was disturbed by Juve. I was in trouble, there were all the guys I knew and the fact of not being able to be there to lend a hand, even with a word, broke the boxes.”
“Then, a few weeks later, comes the confirmation that everything happens in sport: we (PSG) get knocked out by United, against kids and Juve wins against Atletico. I said to myself: “Are you happy now?”. I wanted to throw myself off the eighth floor, I had a bad week, but luckily they turned things around.”