When Gianluigi Buffon one of the greatest goalkeeper’s this century left Juventus after 17 years it wasn’t supposed to mean he would end up warming the bench but that is exactly what has happened at his new club PSG.
When he joined it was seen as a surprise given that he is 40 and whilst he can still do a job it was expected that Buffon had seen his best days at club football and would instead join a mid table team. Then the offer from French giants PSG came in and Buffon took it with both hands.
It’s difficult not to side with Buffon’s choice of new club given that he will win more trophies to add to his 22 that he already has. PSG winning something at least domestically is almost a given this season and they have started their league campaign in style winning all 4 games. The other factor in Buffon deciding to switch to the Parisians is the UEFA Champions League. Remarkably despite appearing in 3 finals in 2003, 2015 and 2017 respectively, Buffon has yet to win the trophy which is the only major piece of silverware missing from his resume.
The closest he came was in 2003 when after 120 minutes of football the final played against Italian rivals AC Milan came down to penalties and Milan came out victors. It is the one trophy he is seeking and desperate to win and with PSG he has a realistic chance even if the team have fallen in the competition when it has really mattered in recent seasons.
But what Buffon could not have envisaged was that he would be PSG’s boss Thomas Tuchel’s No.2. Former PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp left the club in the summer and Buffon stepped in so it was supposed to be a simple process, not so. The form of French keeper Alphonse Areola has thrown that into jeopardy. It was telling that Buffon started the season in goal only for Areola to start the last 3 games and the only reason Areola has not made the line up in every game this season in Ligue 1 is because he was given an extended holiday after the World Cup. Areola also took advantage of Hugo Lloris being dropped from the French national side after his drink driving charge in London.
Now Areola has the taste of being the number 1 keeper for his national side the pressure is on Tuchel to keep him playing otherwise he will have to force a move away in order to stay in French manager Didier Deschamps radar. So what could the solution be? One likely one would be to play Areola who needs more game time than Buffon in all games for Ligue 1 and play Buffon in the cup matches including the Champions League- one last hurrah for the Italian legend if you like. Only time will tell how long Buffon has at a top club but it would be no surprise if this was his last season and last chance to get his hands on a trophy once described as ol’ big ears.