Buffon: If you’re not careful …

Italy and Gianluigi Buffon suffered a lot in their Saturday night match against Spain, losing 3-0 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

The Juventus goalkeeper was upset with the result, but at the same time he was not too surprised, as he was fully aware of just how dangerous La Roja can be when on top form.

In an interview with MARCA, the 39-year-old opened up on a number of topics, including the Spain squad he just went up against.

Why did you decide to become a goalkeeper?

“I followed a legend when I was younger, Cameroon goalkeeper Thomas N’Kono. I saw him play at the 1990 World Cup in Italy and after that Cameroon were the team of my heart, although there were also a number of Italians who I loved.”

Why have you spent so many years at Juventus?

“It’s because I like the sense of belonging, which is why I spent 10 years at Parma and now 17 at Juventus. I like to work in a group of fixed people, who I get on and coexist well with. You end up feeling like an important part [of the team], so I decided to stay in it forever.”

Has that idea of staying at one club become less common in modern football?

“Of course it has. It has been overcome by business. Football can be beautiful for those who watch or play it and for me it was gratifying and really beautiful to spend so many years at Parma and Juventus, because you can feel that sense of closeness with all the people there.”

In recent years, Juventus is the only team to have kept pace with the giants of Europe. Why is that?

“It’s because Juventus has been the club which has understood the need to have top-class directors and to plan ahead, building for the present, but also for the future.”

What happened in the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Cardiff?

“We had a good first half, but we were too confident when thinking that we could play that type of game for the whole 90 minutes. We thought we could make things difficult for Real Madrid’s top players, but they were stronger and deservedly won. It was a lesson for us. If we meet Real Madrid again, we’d probably change the way of approaching the game.”

What did you learn from that final?

“I learned that in finals we need to find competitiveness across the whole team. One of the best attributes of Italian teams is, above all, the teamwork, as well as the defensive solidity. Yet in this final we looked to play more openly and fight Real Madrid player by player. Then we saw their superiority and understood that we could have done things better by applying other characteristics to the game. We couldn’t work out what we’d need to achieve balance against them.”

Was Real Madrid’s superiority a mental thing?

“In this case yes, while in the past 10 years the Spanish teams, including the national team, have made certainty and conviction their thing. That gives them a lot of calm when it comes to any kind of match, something that we’re maybe lacking. But I must say that at the end of it all I am satisfied with the journey Juventus went on, as playing two Champions League finals in three years means that we’re also strong.”

What do you think of the Spanish national team?

“Spain have already been a great team over these past 10 years. Their philosophy and way of playing has not changed, even if they’ve changed some interpretations of it. Speaking from experience, if you don’t pay a lot of attention to them then they can really hurt you.”

Did you understand Iker Casillas’ departure from Real Madrid?

“I didn’t understand it because I don’t know the ins and outs of Real Madrid. So I don’t know what was behind it all, but it makes sense that it was sad to see him go to another team.”

Should Real Madrid sign a new goalkeeper, like Gianluigi Donnarumma?

“Real Madrid haven’t lacked anything over the past 10 years, as they have bought the best footballers. Keylor Navas is a great goalkeeper, despite what some say. They have won two Champions League with him and he has often been important on the way to winning them. I don’t believe there is a need to sign, as the results have shown that they are winning as it is.”

Which strikers have caused you the most problems?

“The striker who caused me all kinds [of trouble] was Ronaldo, the Brazilian one. He was the perfect player, as he had power, speed, intuition technical skills and quickness. He was a jaw-dropping player. It seemed like he was created in a lab.”

Are you worried about what life will be like without football?

“I’m not scared [about retirement] because I love life. I owe a lot to football because it has allowed me to experience incredible emotions.”

What do you think lies in store in your immediate future?

“I know the future will be nice, although I don’t know exactly how, given that I’m focussed on the present.”

What about being a coach?

“No, I’m not attracted to that idea right now because it is a difficult and stressful job.”

Does this year feel different, given that you know it’s your last?

“No, the feeling is one of wanting to keep working well and meeting this season’s objectives.”

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