When he left Juventus at the end of last season, many had believed that Gianluigi Buffon would retire from the game, and head into the sunset with his name written in the annals of football as one of the game’s greats.
Instead what we saw was a complete opposite and came as a surprise for many. The chiselled shot-stopper decided to sign for French giants Paris Saint-Germain and write another chapter in his already illustrious career.
Granted part of Buffon’s strong desire to continue stems from him wanting to lift the Champions League but that aside, it demonstrates the mental fortitude he has shown all these while which has made him remained at the top for so long.
At 40 most professionals would have called it a day but Buffon is different. Here is a man who still believes he has something to contribute to his team’s cause and displays the same enthusiasm similar to when he first started out at Parma.
In fact watching him play in the International Champions Cup in Singapore, I believe that the Italian still can perform at the highest level. While his reflexes may have slowed but he certainly makes up for it with his exceptional positioning and more importantly his leadership at the back.
Thomas Tuchel will no doubt realise the impact of having someone of Buffon’s stature in his team as PSG chase the Holy Grail, which is the European Cup next season. Yes, the former Italian international can’t possibly play every game given his age but can still wield his influence on the younger stars through his experience.
In particular, for PSG’s goalkeepers such as the likes of Kevin Trapp and Alphonse Areola. There is no doubt training and being under the tutelage of one of the world’s best goalkeepers will do them a wealth of good. Backed by the ambitious Qatar Sports Investments group, the French champions have made a number of high-profile investments in terms of players and coaches over the years as they sought to turn PSG into a force in Europe and France.
While domination of French football has been swift and has become a usual narrative these days, the trouble lays in Europe where the club has failed to realise its grandiose ambitions. However do not be surprised if for all of their million dollar investments, it could be the one goalkeeper that arrived on a free transfer that finally gives them what they crave for.