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Legendary Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon speaks his mind

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Lennart Preiss

Juventus and Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon recently spoke to Giulia Zonca of La Stampa in an interview that covered a wide variety of topics. For the most part, Gigi refused to be drawn into making any controversial statements despite the probing nature of the questions, but he did shed some light on a few topics that are near and dear to the hearts of Juventus fans. (Thanks to Tarek Khatib for the translations.)

On a revolution at Juve: "There have been some changes. After some journey with the same men a physiological change could be good."

On Antonio Conte / Massimiliano Allegri: "Everyone has their own character there isn’t a formula that guarantees a win, otherwise it would’ve been patented. There’s sergeant Louis van Gaal and then there’s Carlo Ancelotti who maintains different & calmer methods, but they both know how to win. I get on well with both approaches, because I received an education that allows me to respect the authority. Players have to figure out how to interact with the coach in a way which enables them to give their best. Ancelotti said that the coach must be within the group & not above it, and Allegri is so and it is a quality that I like. Conte embodied the spirit of the ultras & he deserves most credit for where Juve is today but for a Juve fan it’s different than with other fans, because what is is important is the continuity of the club, that is the trademark."

On Juve’s Serie A rivals: "At the start everyone is equal."

On the Champions League: "Certain investments matter, those with a small budget have a smaller advantage. Yet in the last 2 years we have seen teams like BVB Dortmund & Atletico Madrid who are not superpowers reach the final. Sometimes there are surprises, although it is weird to think of Juventus as a surprise."

When asked if it would be a surprise to see any of the Italian clubs reach the CL final: "Unfortunately, it would be."

On Carlo Tavecchio: "The sentence about the banana was & will remain to be a sad one, even if it was manipulated a bit. Our football’s future depends on a radical change with well thought out reforms. There already is an atmosphere of half a defeat [Tavecchio with majority votes] let’s see if the defeat is complete on Aug. 11. What bothers me the most is that some people stick to their decisions thinking they have an advantage in the future [Obviously referring to Lotito & Galliani etc, the politicians of Italian football]. If nothing changes from now till the 11th then we need to all take a good look at ourselves: players, journalists, everyone. We have to remove the armchair & change the certain logic of power that is exhausting our football, it can’t be very complicated. The new president of CONI has ideas and presents himself as a reformist. whoever is elected (for FIGC) should have the same effect."

On a future in the politics of sport in Italy: "Who knows, I’d be authoritative & won’t work to be a puppet in the hands of others."

On if he has overcome the disappointment of the World Cup: "It’s not my jersey that’s drenched with tears but my soul. I am one of those who suffer the most from the misfortunes of football. In Brazil we lost everything, we had the opportunity to make our country proud when it was passing through a difficult time. I agree with Daniele De Rossi when he says that we need men & not (Panini) stickers."

On if he was referring to Mario Balotelli in his post-World Cup outburst: "I wasn’t referring to any individual. I don’t need a scapegoat. What bothers me about the media is that they catapult a young player into a star without him having materialized anything yet. I don’t understand the urge (from the media) to pump up a name (of a player) that has just come out, maybe to drive his price up."

When asked if he saw Balotelli’s pic with the rifle: "I was never interested to know about what they do with their mates or at home. What interests me is reliability."

On Conte coaching the Azzurri: "He should then modify the way that he works because he won’t have the time to be so manic."

When asked if the players teased Andrea Pirlo about Allegri: "We were all on vacation, there was no time."

On Pirlo-Allegri: "I never understood the doubts. It takes a few sentences to resolve situations between men, maybe with a joke."

On pictures of him & Ilaria D’Amico "I had nothing to hide, there are no secrets about my relationship the paparazzi are a price to pay. I have not lived barbaric invasions & more importantly my kids are too young to read the tabloids." [D'Amico is a football commentator and television host in Italy. Both parties have firmly denied any reports of an affair until Italy was knocked out of the World Cup in Brazil when pictures first surfaced. Buffon is married to former Czech model Alena Šeredová and has two children.]