Ital­ian foot­ball leg­end Gian­luigi Buf­fon on the abil­ity to look good as well as think on your feet


GIAN­LUIGI “GIGI” BUF­FON is one of very few foot­ballers in the world who have tran­scended a gen­er­a­tion. At age 40, the Ital­ian player’s track record is ar­guably un­matched, whether as a goal­keeper, a na­tional player or as an un­of­fi­cial am­bas­sador of the sport he loves just by play­ing it so damn well.

Buf­fon was re­cently in Sin­ga­pore to join the stel­lar team fielded by French club

Paris Saint-Ger­main for the In­ter­na­tional Cham­pion’s Cup. And thanks to HUGO BOSS, the of­fi­cial tai­lor of the team since 2014, we man­aged to grab an in­ter­view and a pho­to­shoot with him, swathed in the fine threads of BOSS nat­u­rally.

Ask any foot­ball fan which club they’d as­so­ciate Buf­fon with and the an­swer you will most likely get is Ju­ven­tus. Although he had his start in Serie A with Parma (he joined in 1991 as a youth foot­baller, then sub­se­quently played as a pro­fes­sional) from 1995 to 2001, Buf­fon’s tenure at Ju­ven­tus lasted from 2001 to 2018. His ap­pear­ances for the team come in just sec­ond after

Del Piero, at 656. He has won nine Serie A tro­phies and five Coppa Ital­ias with the team in that time. For some rea­son though, the Cham­pion’s League tro­phy has eluded him.

The move from Ju­ven­tus ear­lier this year was one of the big­gest sur­prises in the foot­ball uni­verse. When asked how he felt about mak­ing the de­ci­sion, Buf­fon shared, “For me, it wasn’t an easy de­ci­sion to take be­cause it meant a big change to my life after so many years in Torino. But the en­thu­si­asm to ac­cept a new chal­lenge with Paris Saint-Ger­main was a big­ger fac­tor in my de­ci­sion.”

Buf­fon al­luded that Paris Saint-Ger­main’s am­bi­tion to con­quer both the French league and the Cham­pi­ons League played a huge part in con­vinc­ing him it was time to move.

We asked him about the strat­egy go­ing for­ward in the Cham­pi­ons League might be and Buf­fon an­swered diplo­mat­i­cally: “I think the Cham­pi­ons League is a dream for the club and for the play­ers, but it’s im­por­tant

to un­der­stand what it would take to achieve it. Be­fore you win the Cham­pi­ons League, you must face many chal­lenges. You need to equip your­self with the best skills and en­ergy. It’ll also help if Lady Luck smiles on you. The team will have to work hard and stay fo­cused in ev­ery com­pe­ti­tion if we are to ad­vance in the Cham­pi­ons League.”

One would think that Buf­fon’s 24 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in foot­ball would be a game-changer for Paris Saint-Ger­main, but the man cut­ting the for­mi­da­ble fig­ure in the BOSS suit doesn’t dis­play an iota of ar­ro­gance or com­pla­cency.

“No­body ever told me I’m com­ing here as the main goal­keeper, and that’s a good thing. Firstly, it is re­spect for the other goal­keep­ers of Paris Saint-Ger­main. Se­condly, I have just ar­rived in a new coun­try with a dif­fer­ent cham­pi­onship, and I am still ad­just­ing.

Lastly, we will have many matches and it’s a smart move to have more goal­keep­ers be­cause we may face in­jury or fa­tigue. I think that a great club like Paris Saint-Ger­main needs to have great goal­keep­ers and this is the case here.”

It may feel like a re­boot for Buf­fon in the new club and that he needs to warm up. But his time in Serie A yielded 12 Goal­keeper of the Year awards for him and we don’t see this streak end­ing any­time soon. Along with Paris Saint-Ger­main’s ac­qui­si­tion of play­ers such as Ney­mar, Dani Alves and Án­gel Di María in re­cent years, suc­cess is al­most guar­an­teed for Paris Saint-Ger­main.

What then does the great­est goal­keeper in mod­ern foot­ball, at­tribute his suc­cess to? “I first started play­ing in the field but I changed be­cause I found that my abil­ity to in­ter­pret sit­u­a­tions in matches al­lowed me to con­trib­ute bet­ter as a goal­keeper.

So I changed po­si­tions and fo­cused on the keep­ing the other team from scor­ing goals,” Buf­fon shared.

In the wake of the Ben Davis-Na­tional Ser­vice con­tro­versy, we asked Buf­fon if he has ad­vice for kids want­ing to play foot­ball pro­fes­sion­ally. “The best ad­vice I can give to kids is to play for plea­sure and to have fun when they are on the pitch with their team­mates. Only when you love the game, can you cre­ate magic on the field,” he said.

He reached for the glass of wa­ter, and his suit moved in har­mony with his ath­letic sinews. We asked Buf­fon what his style was, ob­serv­ing how com­fort­able he looked in the BOSS Cre­ate Your Look suit. “I like it when a suit fits per­fectly as well as al­lows you to move with ease. That I think is re­ally el­e­gant,” Buf­fon shared. Given the his her­itage and the style Ital­ians ex­ude, it makes sense that Buf­fon cuts as pow­er­ful a fig­ure in a suit as he does in his jersey.

While Buf­fon’s con­tract with Paris Saint-Ger­main is only for a year (with a year for op­tion), the leg­end joked that he will prob­a­bly play till he’s 65. See­ing him in the flesh and on the field, we don’t see it as a joke. Buf­fon has seen the fu­ture. AM

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