Buffon's big farewell interview

The victory in the Coppa Italia was a beautiful final, it sealed the end of a relationship with a beautiful victory and great scenes of empathy and friendship between me and my companions. It was a very peaceful farewell for me, which I had already experienced three years before. You don't get used to it, but with past experience, you have cardinal points to avoid certain emotions. I experienced it very naturally. The fact that he came back makes you understand that you can leave but you can also come back, in people's minds there is the serenity to say 'maybe Gigi can come back among us. In all these years I've become a Juventus fan, I've made certain values my own, and now I'm happier than I was then because I'm a Juventus fan with a conscience, I've chosen to be a Juventus fan.

The first reaction to my images in Juventus 20 years ago? I was as tense as if it was the Champions League final, and I never thought I would still be at Juve in 2021 as a goalkeeper. I didn't think I would be able to put such determination and class on the pitch. I was able to make this career thanks to Juve's values: humility, work, always wanting to improve.

A specific memory of these 21 years with Juve? Many people say Serie B, but I've never given it much thought. I do things instinctively, I have animal feelings that make me understand what is right and what is wrong.

How do I feel about being considered the best goalkeeper ever? I've never thought about this label, although I'm pleased about it. It satisfies you, it makes you understand that you are on the right path, the judgment of others can help you to do something more. Football has changed a lot, it is more difficult than in other times, but there are training tools that help a goalkeeper more today. To want to find the best is something I find unsporting. Icons remain icons. Pele, Maradona, CR7...they were stratospheric players, there is no need to find the best at all costs.

I think if I had to review the goals I've conceded in my career, I'd have a lot to say about them. The first thing that counts in life, if you want to improve, is to be self-critical. I was taught that by my father, who as a sportsman was very critical. If I have done what I have done it is because I have always sought perfection. The closer you get, the better you play.

The happiest moment of my Juventus career? At Trieste, when I won the Scudetto with Conte. It was the closing of a circle that gave strength to my choices as a player. I joined the cause because I believed in it because I could come back and win with Juve. I had thoughts of leaving in 2006, but then life gave me everything back. I suffered a lot from 2006 to 2012, I was the goalkeeper of reference and I decided the isolation.

The most painful moment? Cardiff. Not because of the defeat, but because we fell apart in the second half. We gave the impression that we were not competitive at the highest level. It hurt me, also because of pride. Another thing that hurt me was the elimination in Madrid. Inside me, during that game, I was proud to be the captain of that team. Have I seen the images of that match again? No. Have I ever cried for Juve? I hardly ever cry for a result, but I can be sad or angry about how a result comes. In the Madrid game, the people must have felt proud of the men.

Did I watch Juve when I was in Paris? No, it was too fresh. However, I can say that Paris was a wonderful experience. It gave me a lot from a human point of view, it made me grow, I felt like a citizen of the world. From a sporting point of view, I think I played in a stratospheric team, with people like Neymar and Mbappè. I was sure to get to the Champions League final that year.

Have I ever been afraid of a game? I'm always a bit scared before big games. When I go into the locker room five minutes into the game I'm back on my feet, it happens in nine out of ten games. I can probably shake myself thinking that there is something to go and there is no other way.

Is there anything I haven't said to a teammate, manager, or coach? I think I've said the important things to everyone. I felt the esteem of my teammates and managers, even the fans. I felt they had esteem that I couldn't betray, the more responsibility I had the stronger I felt. If I've been able to go a certain way, it's also thanks to them.

The BBC? Two things come to mind: the bond, which unites you in a way that is stronger than friendship, and as a second term, good guys. They are three good guys, it will be difficult to find people like that in today's world of football.

The locker room? There was a mix of Italians, who drove the group, and foreigners, we always liked to be contaminated by them. We welcomed everyone with open arms, Mandzukic was here for 4-5 years and didn't want to leave. A good atmosphere was created with everyone, I remember many of them, I think everyone enjoyed their stay with us.

Did I sometimes have to raise my voice in the locker room? Maybe, I don't remember. If I feel I have to say something I say it, it's not like I have to spend too much time thinking about it. What will I miss most about the Juve dressing room? This chapter of my life must be closed, I think I won't have any repercussions, I was already thinking of quitting 3 years ago. Now I'm even more convinced, I wouldn't mind if I had to stop, I'm happy, I have a beautiful family, many interests outside football. In my head I'm a dreamer, I have so many things to catch.

Returning to Juve as a second-team goalkeeper? In the beginning, I wasn't very convinced. I had opportunities to play in the Champions League with good teams, then I thought about being 41 years old, about possible physical problems, and I told myself to make the family situation easier and go back to Juve. There was also the opportunity to come back with the boys, close a circle and then probably stop playing. I was also keen to play with Cristiano, and test myself and turn the tables. I thought it could be a good personal experience, to see how far I could go in terms of selflessness and optimism. This experience taught me a lot, respect and esteem for my teammates, I would do it again, I have a good relationship with Szczesny and Pinsoglio.

What is Juve for me? It's something that is like a football master's degree. To have had the honor of representing it, and representing its many fans. I feel lucky, I couldn't have it any better. One thing that bothered me, though, was that the team's enthusiasm this year came down a bit with the first difficulties. True fans must not sink the team at the first difficulty. If I support Juve my players are the strongest until May, not February. I was also disturbed by the comments about me playing against Barcelona: 'Buffon plays because he's friends with Pirlo'. I don't want any presents, hearing that someone doubted me pushed me to leave Juve. It's normal anyway because people also need to see new players and new situations.

What am I going to do now? I need to disconnect. I need to rest and put new energy into my tank. I don't want to regret whatever choice I make. Am I happy today? Yes, very happy, I'm very happy, I don't ask for more. I can also stop, I think I've done enough in my career. I know I still have to improve some things as a person, but I'm happy with how I've turned out as a man. If I wasn't satisfied with myself as a person, I wouldn't be happy. I'm on the right track.

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