Speaking in an exclusive interview with L’Équipe, Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon covered a multitude of different topics. Highlights.
On why he has stayed at Juventus for such a period of time:
Because I built my life according to certain values. And one of those values, is the sense of belonging, the gratitude towards a club, a team, an environment, fans who have always behaved in a correct manner towards me.
I am used to it, everyone can make one or two mistakes a year, not more. So when I made one, it created a drama, everyone was giving their opinion. And it is true that today, I am easier to attack, because I am 38. When I make a mistake, people say that I am getting old. But I was also making mistakes at 30, at 25, that is part of my position. I am very self-critical. If I decide one day that some of my mistakes are linked to the fact that I am not as nimble, that I am of a certain age, that I am reading situations less well, then I will be the first to quit.
On singing the Italian national anthem with such conviction:
When I was young, that was a bit less the case. It is normal, people ripen and feel about certain things differently. Today, the national anthem represents a lot more to me. I lost a grandfather in the First World War, so there is a very strong sense of belonging.
On whether a champion has a role not just in football, but also in society:
Yes, that is inevitable, that is part of the responsibilities that I have had. But I think that one should not exaggerate it either. When I hear: “You, footballers, you are the symbols of upbringing for the children,” I do not agree. My children, I raise them, I am their father. It is not Higuain, Balotelli, Donnarumma or Del Piero who is going to raise them.
Aside from that, concerning the way a player behaves on the pitch or off it, you can have a discussion at home about it. You can say: “Look it is good what he is doing,” and the opposite, if a player makes a mistake, you can say to your children: “There, I did not appreciate that.” The behaviour of a player can be the source of a conversation but it cannot be the basis of an upbringing nor the model.