Director Beppe Marotta joined the Italy coach in defending the veteran keeper after Franz Beckenbauer ridiculed his performance against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.Juventus director Beppe Marotta and Italy national team coach Cesare Prandelli have hit back at Franz Beckenbauer following his criticism of veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
The Bayern Munich legend claimed the 35-year-old Buffon "looked like a pensioner" during a poor performance in the Bianconeri's 2-0 UEFA Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich in the first leg of their quarterfinal tie at the Allianz Arena.
Marotta has since mounted a staunch defense of the World Cup-winning shot-stopper, insisting he deserves more respect from a fellow icon of the game.
"Buffon must be respected. To read such considerations from an icon of world football hurts, especially when they are directed at another athletic symbol such as Gigi. He is a special guy, a role model for young people," Marotta told reporters while attending the quarterly football report at the Italian parliament.
Prandelli echoed Marotta's sentiments, and he suggested that Beckenbauer is in no place to criticize exponents of the modern game.
"Gigi has already responded well, with great balance and irony," Prandelli said. "He will give a great response on the pitch.
"Besides, retirees are always wise people..."