Wojciech Szczesny believes Gigi Buffon is “simply incredible” and recounts his first day with the legendary keeper.
The Juve No.2 was at an event highlighting the use of technology in sport, and was asked about VAR.
“I think VAR is a very important thing for the future of football. It needs to be improved, but it is a great new development. It helps players, it helps referees, and it’s important.
“We are also helped by the GPS trackers we use in training, because the fitness coach knows who has worked harder, who needs help. You can’t hide!
“Nowadays, we are 100 per cent athletes, more than ever before. A few years ago, Paul Gascoigne was a top player, but not a top athlete. In this era, you need to be concentrated and physically at your best. You have to play every three days, run 12km. Fortunately, I don’t have to, but it’s still a strain!
“Buffon? That first day [with Gigi] was incredible. I arrived here thinking this was his last or penultimate year. I told myself this was an experience that could happen once in a lifetime.
“I expected Buffon to be a great goalkeeper, but as a man he’s simply incredible. A real leader of the team, friends with everyone. He is somebody everyone loves: he helps everybody. He’s a great person.
“I don’t even need to say what he’s like as a goalkeeper, because everyone knows that. It’s a fantastic life experience working with him and I hope it can continue for another year.
“Every day at Juventus, you realise that there is a different responsibility here. We have to win, we are obligated to win it all. Winning is normality here, so there is this responsibility to work even harder than everyone else. I think that’s what took Juve to win all these trophies, as six titles in a row is extraordinary. I’d like us to get to 10!
“I have this great passion to be an interior designer. It started when I bought my first house 10 years ago. I have four homes in London, four in Bologna, and I always did everything myself.
“Once I retire, I’d like to work from home, as players are forever travelling and it’d be good to be home with my wife and daughter. I think my dream would be to work as an architect or interior designer. I like the classic French style, I’m currently sorting out my home in Poland. My wife likes it.
“My experience in London was very important, as I arrived at the age of 15 without my mother, without help. I had to grow up quickly. I still consider London to be my home, as I have so many friends there.
“I was a phenomenon in Poland, the best in the country. I arrived at Arsenal and saw 90 goalkeepers who were better than me. I realised that to reach a certain level, I had to do more than the others.
“I learned English very quickly and worked so hard, so there were five ahead of me in the pecking order, then four, then three. I made the right choices, such as not celebrating too much as a teenager on my own in London…”