Buffon: Champions League not an obsession for me or PSG
PARIS (AP) — Despite it being the only trophy missing from a glittering collection, veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon says the Champions League is not “an obsession” for him after joining Paris Saint-Germain.
The 40-year-old Buffon completed his free-agent move last week after 17 years with Juventus, during which he became established as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
Buffon won his ninth Serie A title this season, leading the Bianconeri to a fourth successive league and cup double.
He also won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and the UEFA Cup with Parma in 1999, but has never lifted the Champions League, losing three finals with Juventus.
“I don’t think it’s an obsession for me and neither for Paris Saint Germain,” said Buffon at his first PSG press conference on Monday. “I accepted this offer because I think there are the conditions here for me to grow as a player and a person.
“I think I can also help PSG to grow a bit on the pitch and then we can aim for even more important goals. But when the season begins you can’t think of enveloping all this in the aim for the Champions League because that would be complete craziness and we’re not crazy here.”
French champion PSG has spent more than 1 billion euros ($1.175 billion) on players since Qatar Sports Investments took over in 2011 with the aim of turning it into a world-class team.
The club has so far failed to transfer its domestic dominance onto the international stage. It was eliminated from the Champions League at the round of 16 this season, having reached the quarterfinals the previous four years.
Buffon will miss PSG’s first three matches in the 2018-19 Champions League, after being suspended for his red card in this season’s quarterfinal defeat against Real Madrid and for comments about the referee.
Buffon, who made 656 appearances for Juve, was expected to retire at the end of the season and had said he was “planning a different future” until PSG made contact in May.
He has penned a one-year deal, with the option for an additional season, and has no idea when he will hang up his boots.
“I’ve stopped making these calculations because when I was 30 I thought I had two or three more years, then when I got to 34 I thought I had one or two years maximum, then I got to 37, 38 and now I’m 40,” said Buffon.
“Until this year I played in the national team too and when someone plays in the national team it means they’re at the top level. I don’t want to ask myself this question again because I think it’s wrong and I think it creates a negative situation for myself that I don’t need.”
Buffon, former captain of Juve and Italy, retired from the international stage in November after the Azzurri lost a World Cup playoff to Sweden, although he returned for a couple of friendlies.
He made 176 appearances for Italy — a European record — and was voted Serie A’s goalkeeper of the year 12 times.
Buffon has never played for a club outside Italy. He even stayed with Juve when it was demoted to the second division in 2006 following the Calciopoli refereeing scandal, which also saw the Bianconeri stripped of two Serie A titles.