Juventus captain and custodian Gianluigi Buffon may not have officially made an announcement regarding his future as a professional footballer, but the veteran is adamant that Wednesday night’s UEFA Champions League will not be his final European tie, one way or another.
“(This being the last Champions League match) hasn’t even crossed my mind. Not the least of all because I’m optimistic by nature but I hope this is not the last this year for me or Juventus and that we’ll have many more important ones,” Buffon exclaimed at his pre-match press conference.
Buffon had sparked a furore last year when he declared that the 2017-18 season would be his last, but then backtracked on his comments as he admitted he wasn’t sure what he would do when the season finished.
The tie is evenly poised after the first leg in Turin ended in a 2-2 draw a few weeks ago. However, the fact that Spurs have two away goals in the bag have them pegged as slight favourites to progress to the quarters.
And while Buffon admitted the odds were in the Premier League outfit’s favour, he called upon his teammates to respond in the face of adversity and quality for the next stage.
Considering the fact that Juve secured a last-gasp win over Lazio in the Serie A on the weekend courtesy of a Paulo Dybala stunner, the Bianconeri skipper felt that the Italian giants could dig deep once again.
“I guess its normal that there’s pessimism when Juventus faces some adversity. One false step and people fear the worst and criticise without taking into account the opposition as well and that there’s another team who put in a really good performance. When our backs are against the wall, we are spurred on to do even better,” added the 40-year-old.
While Spurs host Juventus, Manchester City will welcome FC Basel in the other continental tie on the night.
On Tuesday night, Real Madrid and Liverpool became this season’s first teams to confirm their berths in the last-four, knocking out Paris Saint-Germain and FC Porto, respectively.