You see the man in the picture right above this text? His name is Gianluigi Buffon. You may have heard of him before. Maybe you’re new here and wondering why he’s wearing bright green gloves and pointing in some random direction as his mouth is agape for some odd reason.
You see, Saturday was Buffon’s birthday. His 39th birthday, to be exact. You don’t see many players stepping onto the field virtually every game at his age, let alone playing at the level Buffon has for the better part of the last two decades.
Well, Buffon isn’t going to retire today. Or tomorrow. Or the day after that. He’s outlined his plans for the future, which means he will be leading Juventus out of the tunnel this afternoon as Juventus takes on Sassuolo at the Mapei Stadium.
That’s where Buffon’s birthday and the second day of the weekend come together as one. Do we want Juventus to give their captain a day after his birthday? Of course they do. If we could just snap our fingers and have Juventus pick up three points, then some of us would probably do that without looking back. But we know it doesn’t work like that. This game isn’t that simple. Rewarding your club legends isn’t always that simple.
And as we’ve seen with Juventus, putting together good performances on top of getting three points isn’t always that simple.
That’s why they play the games, boys and girls.
Hopefully that means Juventus continues down this suddenly correct path with the 4-2-3-1 that Max Allegri has put them on. It’s easy to be optimistic these days knowing how well they have played the last two games against Fiorentina and Lazio over the past eight days. It’s easy to like what you’ve already seen.
Now it’s just about continuing what was started at the Franchi at the Mapei. Not necessarily the simplest thing to do knowing Juventus’ past at this stadium, I know, but we didn’t really think that Juve switching formations was going to happen, either.
Location: Mapei Stadium, Sassuolo, Italy
Kick-off time: 3 p.m. local time in Italy; 2 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 9 a.m. on the East Coast; 6 a.m. on the West Coast
Juventus starting XI (4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Buffon; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic; Juan Cuadrado, Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic; Gonzalo Higuain
Rinse and repeat.
Juventus bench: Neto, Emil Audero, Dani Alves, Daniele Rugani, Andrea Barzagli, Kwadwo Asamoah, Claudio Marchisio, Hernanes, Stefano Sturaro, Tomas Rincon, Federico Mattiello, Marko Pjaca
Sassuolo starting XI (4-3-3): Andrea Consigli; Luca Antei, Paolo Cannavaro, Francesco Acerbi, Federico Peluso; Luca Mazzitelli, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Alberto Aquilani; Domenico Berardi, Alessandro Matri, Matteo Politano
TV: RAI International, beIN SPORTS USA (United States); RAI International, beIN Sports Canada (Canada); Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, Premium Play, Sky Calcio 1, PremiumSport HD (Italy)
Online: fuboTV, beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A. (United States); beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada, fuboTV Canada (Canada); BT Sport Live Streaming (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia (Italy)
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