Juventus and Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon has Maurizio Sarri, saying that the Juventus head coach will do much better next season after having more time to develop his style of play and build an understanding with the players.
Juventus, who are currently on a record-breaking run of eight consecutive Serie A titles, have faced a considerable challenge from Lazio and Inter Milan this season, and are currently one point ahead of Lazio at the top of the table with 12 matches to play. With the team returning to action for the first time in over three months with a match against Bologna on 22nd June, Buffon spoke to the media about Sarri’s methods and his belief that next season will be better.
His contention is that it is always going to take time for a new tactician to impose their methods on the squad, who have been used to a different style of play for years. Juventus parted ways with Massimiliano Allegri after five years in the summer, and so it is understandable that there is a period of adjustment to Sarri’s more possession-based tactics, from Allegri’s passive approach.
The coronavirus pandemic had forced the suspension of Serie A back in early March, with Italy being one of the early epicentres with over 238,000 cases and 34,000 deaths. Juventus had been directly impacted as well, with Argentinian forward Paulo Dybala testing positive for the virus, but he has now made a full recovery and is expected to feature prominently once the action resumes.
On Dybala, Buffon was effusive in his praise, with the veteran goalkeeper being very happy that Juventus have a player of his calibre on their hands, who can impact games from the start or off the bench. Dybala’s impact can be seen from the numbers – the forward has scored 13 goals and provided 12 assists in 35 games this season, proving his ability to be decisive in the final third of the pitch.
Of course, Dybala will be partnered by the main man in Turin at the moment – Cristiano Ronaldo. The five-time Ballon D’Or winner is already having an improved second season at Juventus, having scored 21 goals in 22 Serie A appearances so far this season – a tally he achieved in the entirety of the 2018-19 season, and so he is likely to make this his best season in Italy so far.
Buffon, who can say a thing or two about winning at the top level, having won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, along with his many endorsement contracts, such as his agreement with PokerStars in 2009 to endorse their online gambling casino games, has paid homage to Ronaldo’s work ethic and mentality. The goalkeeper said that ‘Cristiano is a champion of football history’ and that his mentality is unique, with Buffon, who has played with some greats of the game such as Alessandro del Piero, Zinedine Zidane and Fabio Cannavaro, saying that he has never seen that sort of mental focus in any other player.
Juventus may have a one-point lead at the top of the table, but this is turning out to be one of the closest Serie A title races in recent years. Lazio has been exceptional so far this season, fired on by Ciro Immobile’s goals as well as the meanest defence in the league, and there is every chance that the two teams’ meeting on 21st July could be a title decider. It will be very interesting to see if Sarri’s Juventus side can hold off this challenge and thus pick up a ninth consecutive Serie A title, or whether Lazio can overcome the Old Lady and win only their third title, and first in 20 years.