Buffon aims for UEFA Champions League glory
The world's most expensive goalkeeper is hungry for success,
starting with the UEFA Champions League. Italian number one
Gianluigi Buffon, who made a €40.3m midsummer move from Parma
AC to Juventus FC, is in a hurry to face new "challenges"
and pick up "new trophies".
|Buffon made headlines with
his record breaking transfer from Parma this summer
Speaking to uefa.com after a recent training session at the
old Communale stadium in Turin, the 23-year-old, 21-times-capped
Buffon explained that his move to the "Old Lady"
had come as something of a surprise. Having grown up in the
Parma youth team, he felt and still feels a strong loyalty
to Parma. Accordingly, he had assured the club of his willingness
to stay with them this season.
Desire to win
When Parma's financial strategy changed and he found himself
on the market, then he knew exactly where he wanted to go
and why: "To tell you the truth, I didn't even think
I would be moving from Parma this year but then things changed
and my transfer came about in a very short time. Clearly,
if I had to leave Parma, then I was going to go to a big team,
either to Juventus or Milan (AC). I've had no problem settling
down here because my main reason for moving from Parma was
to win something, to face new challenges and collect new trophies.
Everything else is subordinate and secondary to that"
Although Parma have a splendid recent cup record, having won
two UEFA Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and two Italian Cups
in the last decade, they have so far flattered only to deceive
in both the Serie A title contest and the UEFA Champions League.
In moving to Italy's most successful club, Buffon is all too
aware that he has arrived in a team where winning has often
been a good habit: "This is a club where they take things
one day at a time, game by game. This is a good group of players.
We're not worried by any team, we've plenty of respect for
everybody but, in the end, probably it's our opponents who
are more worried by us".
Buffon's move to Juventus appears to have come at just the
right moment. Even though they sold the world's most expensive
player, French wizard Zinedine Zidane, to Real Madrid CF,
Juventus ironically look stronger and more hungry than ever.
While Zidane left, he was replaced by a top-class quartet
that featured Buffon, his Parma team mate, Frenchman Lilian
Thuram, Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved and Chilean striker
Marcelo Salas. Add in the return of winning coach Marcello
Lippi, the comeback of Dutchman Edgar Davids, back after a
five-month ban following a positive test for nandrolene, and
the good form shown by a rejuvenated Alessandro del Piero
and it is easy to understand why Buffon is optimistic about
both Juve's prospects in both the Champions League and Serie
In this latter regard, take note that Juventus have already
served warning on their rivals, winning their first three
league games to go top of Serie A. If the usual suspects such
as Milan, Internazionale FC, S.S.Lazio and AS Roma look like
Juve's major domestic rivals, what does Buffon make of Juve's
first phase Champions League group - Rosenborg BK, Celtic
FC and FC Porto?
"We all know that Rosenborg have been dominating Norwegian
football for the last decade and they always go well in the
Champions League because they are the sort of team that is
difficult for everyone, " Buffon says. "Celtic have
just returned to the top again and if you look at the players
they have and the fact that they eliminated (AFC) Ajax in
the qualifying round, then it means they are a good team.
Clearly, (Henrik) Larsson is a good player. I saw him at EURO
2000" last season and he was obviously useful.
But Buffon adds ominously:"Porto are the classic technically
strong side that can cause you problems, especially at home
where the environment can be hot. But as I said before we
don't have to be frightened of anyone".
This article is entitled from "Buffon aims for UEFA Champions
League glory", taken from UEFA
Magazine. The images are not original.