Gianluigi Buffon admits he ‘dreams of playing’ at the 2022 World Cup and reveals Leonardo Bonucci asked him for tips on how to take penalties during Euro 2020.
Buffon, 42, has completed a free move to Serie B side Parma from Juventus and will play for the Ducali 20 years after the last time.
“President Kyle Krause asked me if I wanted to return to Parma after the Juventus-Parma in Turin last season,” Buffon told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“In general, that’s not something you’d ask. But he did it and I liked it because I saw a vision. Also, he is American and according to the collective imaginary, America is a dream. I was looking for somebody who could make me dream,” the 2006 Italy World Cup winner continued.
Buffon’s dream is to bring Parma back to Serie A and play the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“Mancini has done something extraordinary, and, at 43, I’ll never be the one saying: ‘I am here, give me a call-up,’ but I can dream thanks to the World Cup.
“Otherwise, why do I play? Bring Parma back to Serie A, sure, and then? It’s almost certain Mancini won’t give me a call-up, he has his men and his group, but I need to know there will be a World Cup to keep dreaming.”
Buffon had won the World Cup in 2006 and cheered on his compatriots at the Euros earlier this summer.
“I watched the Final from home with my children, it was such a great joy. It was nice to see them smile after they had cried after the elimination from the World Cup qualifiers against Sweden. I had also cried at San Siro.”
Gigio Donnarumma was decisive at the Euros as he saved penalty kicks against Spain and England and was named Player of the Tournament. Buffon reveals the new PSG goalkeeper even taught him something new.
“He was extraordinary, not just for his saves, but for how he handled all the difficult situations, he was better than any other goalkeeper, today he is a point of reference worldwide,” Buffon said.
“I don’t care if his career will last as much as mine. I know he is a great goalkeeper and I just enjoy him.
“I’ve learnt from Donnarumma, I’ve studied some of the things he does. I’m so serene, I don’t care if the others are good.”
Was he jealous to see his former teammates Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini celebrate at Wembley Stadium?
“How could I? I may have been if I hadn’t won the World Cup and so many titles during my career and then Leo and Giorgio are like brothers to me. I was frightening they could lose another Final, I was so happy for them.
“Then it’s clear, I like competition, so I would have loved to be on the pitch to celebrate with them, but I would want the same thing with the national teams of Pozzo, Bearzot and Valcareggi.
“I often spoke to Leo and Giorgio during the Euros, Bonucci was asking me tips on how to take the penalties, but in the end, he made it his own way. Bonucci and Chiellini confirm what I’ve always said: the best players must play for the national team. Not the young or the old ones, the best ones.”
Why didn’t he join Atalanta last season and why did Andrea Pirlo fail in his first season as Juventus coach?
“It would have been great to join Atalanta and play under a genius coach such as Gian Piero Gasperini. We discussed it all together and Andrea [Pirlo] told me he thought he would have counted on me for the season.
“I didn’t think about myself and I am happy about it. Especially at my age, it is important to be reliable and correct.
“I think it was predictable to imagine Pirlo facing issues during the first months of the season, but in the last part of the campaign, he proved to be a real coach. Any other club would be celebrating what he achieved last term. It was seen as a negative season because we had won nine titles, but can it be our fault?”