Buffon: ‘I was close to joining Roma on two occasions’


Juventus and Azzurri legend Gianluigi Buffon revealed he was close to joining Roma on two occasions, and explained why he is interested in becoming a sporting director in the future. The former Parma goalkeeper spoke with La Repubblic (via CM) a on a range of issues, starting with his his first year away from playing football:

“I lived it well, it was as I imagined. The voids that you inevitably encounter after having a scheduled life for thirty years, you have to try to fill them in the most productive way possible. And I believe I did it very well.”

“Did i discover something about myself? No, for me, life after football is manifesting with the enthusiasm I imagined and sometimes with melancholy. They are inevitable, after the years I’ve lived. You shouldn’t renounce your past: it should be remembered, it’s something important. But the truth is that the projection must always be positive, towards the present and the future.”

“How do I see the future? As a sporting director? Manager? I put a question mark, still. But in any case, up to the challenge in the things I like. I definitely want to be active; I don’t like being passive.”

“I took the sporting director course. Then, in January, I started a master’s in business administration at Bocconi University, which will end in May, envisioning working for a football club. Since January, I’ve started a full immersion in English, and I’m beginning to follow daily courses in macroeconomics and financial technical analysis. All very, very stimulating.”

“Supporting Juventus? Inevitably, it was transferred to me by my cousins and uncles. But at seven or eight years old, I was already a contrarian; I liked difficult things. Juventus always won, and that bothered me a bit. I liked provincial teams: Avellino, Empoli with Johnny Ekström, Como with Dan Corneliusson.”

“The betting scandal? The thing you can do, given the seriousness of the situation, is to downplay it. I said a couple of stupid things of mine, which I can’t repeat because it wouldn’t be educational. But I’ve been through it; those are things that — if you’ve always respected the rules — hit you deep, offend you deeply. And the fact that one gets offended is important: it reassures you that you’re alive and still have some values.”

“The sliding doors of my career? In 2001, from Parma, I was close to joining Roma. It was a matter of details. Then also with Barcelona. In the end, however, I went to Juventus. Then in 2005, there was a great foreign club that wanted me, but I didn’t consider it. After the World Cup, I could have gone anywhere. In 2007, there were at least two Italian teams. And in 2011, I was going back to Roma because something had broken with Juve: Montali called me, I liked it. But then Conte arrived and imposed my presence. When I returned from PSG to Juve, I was about to go to Porto. I had already seen the flights, the city. And twice more, I was very close to Atalanta. The second time, I had already decided. But since Juventus knows me like the back of their hand, they held a meeting with me, Paratici, Pirlo. Pirlo told me: Gigi, damn, it’s the first year I’m coaching, I came knowing you were here… What could I tell him?”


Serie A obsessive.