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Buffon: Verratti is the only real talent in Italian football

18:39 GMT+3 27/09/2018
Marco Verratti Argentina Italy Friendlies 03232018
The legendary goalkeeper has seen the Azzurri endure a humbling dip over recent years, with a PSG team-mate now emerging as their leading man

Gianluigi Buffon considers Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Marco Verratti to be the “only real talent of Italian football”.

The Azzurri have endured a humbling fall from grace in recent years, with their struggles reaching a head when they failed to qualify for World Cup 2018.

A rebuilding process is now underway, with Roberto Mancini having picked up the managerial baton.

He is looking to find the right blend of youth and experience, with midfield dynamo Verratti emerging as a key man as he blurs the lines between those two groups.

Legendary World Cup-winning goalkeeper Buffon told Gazzetta dello Sport of his 25-year-old club colleague and fellow countryman: “Marco is an incredible player, at this moment he’s the only real talent of Italian football in terms of how he plays the game, the quality of his touch and the way he sees the game.

“When he plays with normal players he can struggle because they don’t understand him, sometimes those who are too good struggle to be understood by others.

“Here, Marco is lucky to play alongside great players who are immediately able to understand where the ball will go and where they want it so you see that all his moves are facilitated.”

Buffon linked up with Verratti at Parc des Princes over the summer after seeing an iconic 17-year spell at Juventus brought to a close.

The 40-year-old star is still keeping a close eye on events in Turin, with the Bianconeri holding a special place in his heart.

He expects a side now boasting Cristiano Ronaldo within its ranks to dominate the Serie A scene once again in 2018-19 – with the club having made a faultless start to their campaign to this point – while he also sees them challenging the likes of PSG for Champions League glory.

Buffon added: “Juve are Juve and at the moment they’re largely ahead of everyone else in Italy, and in Europe too they’re in the top three without a doubt.

“They should be an example for the other Italian teams.”