MILAN: A “proud” Gianluigi Buffon hinted he is still hopeful of becoming a Champions League winner with Juventus after he and defender Andrea Barzagli signed two-year contract extensions with the Serie A champions on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
Italy goalkeeper Buffon has enjoyed another successful season with the Turin giants, helping them to a record-equaling fifth consecutive league title and an Italian Cup finals with AC Milan on May 21.
Buffon set a new Serie A record of 974 minutes without conceding a goal during Juve’s triumphant league campaign, but once again the 38-year-old ‘keeper was left waiting for elusive Champions League glory.
Less than a year after reaching the final, where they lost 3-1 to Barcelona, Juve were ousted by Bayern Munich in this season’s last 16 and Buffon admitted defeat in the decisive second leg shattered his emotions.
“The goals I’ve set myself here have always been related to the team as a whole and to work on certain things individually too,” said Buffon, who was also a Champions League runner-up with Juve in 2003 but has never won the trophy.
“One area that stands out for me is managing my emotions better, such as the severe disappointment I felt when I conceded the second goal in the return leg against Bayern Munich.”
Buffon and Barzagli, 35, are the defensive rocks on which Juve have built their domestic success in recent seasons and are considered crucial players for the club, and Italy.
With their respective deals set to expire at the end of the season, they are now set to end their careers when their new contracts expire on June 30, 2018.
Buffon, especially, has shown no signs of slowing down and he added: “I’m immensely proud in the faith Juventus have placed in me once more and I hope that my fantastic story with this club can continue to yield many more successes.”
Although one of Juve’s objectives next season is to set a new, all-time record of six consecutive league titles, coach Massimiliano Allegri also wants to establish them as regulars in the latter stages of the Champions League.
But after seeing Juventus fight their way back from a disastrous start to this campaign, Buffon said they will remain humble.
“Now we’re looking forward to the next two years. We’ll approach the upcoming campaign with great humility,” he said.
“If we were to succeed in what we all hope we can achieve, then the numbers would speak for themselves.
“I’ll have won 10 Scudetto titles in 16 seasons here. These figures really give a sense of incredible continuity both for me as a player and as a team unit.”