Buffon: Chinese investment 'defeat' for Italy

22Oct 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Buffon: Chinese investment 'defeat' for Italy

GIANLUIGI Buffon has branded Chinese investment in Serie A clubs a "defeat" for Italian football.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has been Italy captain since 2010.

Juventus face AC Milan at the weekend, with their opponents on the verge of changing hands to the Sino-Europe group and a consortium of investors from China. Their city rivals Inter Milan are already in Chinese hands, after the Suning Group took over in June.

Buffon, 38, is not impressed by the influx of Chinese money into the Italian game, however, and he told Corriere dello Sport he is concerned that those investing from abroad know little about the real values of the Italian game.

"It's a defeat for Italian football," Buffon said. "Of Italy as a country, of the traditions, of everything. We needed to look within ourselves and just politely say thanks but no thanks. But we have what we deserve, we are fickle, without a rooted sense of belonging and history has always demonstrated that.

"We ask for Italian identity but if, after 30 years, the Italian experiences a difficult moment, with five years in 10th place, then we don't accept it."
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has been Italy captain since 2010.

Buffon is nearing the end of his career and, while he has ruled out a move into management, he said he would be tempted were he to be offered the Italy job.

"Football has been my world for 32 years and I've been fortunate to live within it," he said.

"Being on the field is the most beautiful part of the game. It gives you emotions that give reason to life. I would not be happy to be a coach, with its day-to-day duties.

"I wouldn't rule out being a national team coach, on the other hand. It would see those emotions experienced on the field remain within me, but also leave me the liberty to dedicate myself to other things."

The emotion of scoring a goal is one of the few things still lacking from his career, although he revealed how he had gone close to it at Euro 2016.

"Against Germany, in the penalty shoot-out, it was going to be my turn to take one after [Matteo] Darmian," he said. "I have thought about it, but then I would be sorry to beat a fellow goalkeeper."

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