Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Tuchel says Areola will start over Buffon at PSG

Leave a comment

When Gianluigi Buffon signed with Paris Saint-Germain, it seemed like Alphonse Areola would need a new home in order to further develop as a future French national team backstop.

[ MORE: Rabiot in demand ]

Three matches into the season, Areola got his chance to overtake Buffon and the 25-year-old is yet to look back.

Thomas Tuchel’s seen enough, at least for now. From RMC Sport in France:

“Yes, I chose,” Tuchel said. “The decision is not final but I told Alphonse that he was in my opinion in pole position to be No. 1. He comes from the academy. PSG means everything to him, and he absolutely wants to prove himself to PSG. This is a situation that must be respected and on which we have to capitalize. We must have players of this nature, we need this type of player who have the soul of PSG, who embody the club.”

Areola’s taken the long road to this post, having been loaned to Lens, Bastia, and Villarreal. Twice-capped for France, he won the World Cup as Hugo Lloris‘ deputy this summer.

And Chelsea’s goalkeeping coach, Christophe Lollicon, says he’s better than Lloris (not that a Chelsea man would dig at Spurs…) From HITC:

“People live in a dream world when it comes to Lloris a bit too much, but for me Areola is above. Against Germany, he was positionally very good and in his ability to come out. It’s the basis of all goalkeepers, but not everyone does it well. He’s pro-active in his anticipation.”

Buffon’s pretty good, so the situation could change at any time but Areola would have to open the door.

PSG to start Areola over Buffon in next 2 Ligue 1 matches

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel has announced that he will start Alphonse Areola over Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon in the club’s next two Ligue 1 matches in a bid to get the Frenchman some game time.

Tuchel confirmed that Buffon has not been dropped, and the move is instead to give Areola playing time, with his last competitive minutes coming at the end of last season. Areola was with the French World Cup squad this summer, but did not appear as Hugo Lloris played every minute of the tournament.

“Alphonse will play against Angers and Nimes,” Tuchel said during his pre-match press conference. “After that, we will see. We think it’s important for Alphonse to play. His last match was in May. He must play.”

As Tuchel said, Areola will suit up against Angers at home on Saturday, and then against Nimes on the road the following weekend. PSG’s next match is against St. Etienne at home on September 15th, followed by a visit to Stade Rennais on September 22nd.

40-year-old Buffon, who signed a one-year deal this summer after the expiry of his Juventus contract, played throughout much of preseason and was in goal as PSG took care of Monaco 4-0 in the Trophee de Champions on August 4th. He also has played all of PSG’s first two league matches of the season, earning wins against both Caen and Guingamp and conceding just one goal.

“Gigi had three exceptional, magnificent matches. I do not like leaving him out. I do not like making long-term decisions. It is important during this preparatory stage that Alphonse adapts to the team. I like complicated decisions. I must make a choice. I like that.”

The odd man out of the goalkeeping mix at Parc des Princes seems to be 28-year-old German Kevin Trapp, who PSG’s starter for two seasons in 2015/16 and 2016/17 but lost his job last season to Areola.

Official: Buffon signs with PSG on free transfer

Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images
Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) — Free agent Gianluigi Buffon signed for Paris Saint-Germain on Friday.

The veteran goalkeeper penned a one-year deal at the French champion with the option for an additional season.

[ MORE: Belgium’s golden generation reaches World Cup semifinal ]

The 40-year-old Buffon left Juventus this season after 17 years with the Italian club during which he established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

“It is with a great feeling of happiness that I join Paris Saint-Germain,” Buffon said. “For the first time in my career, I am leaving my country and only a project this ambitious could have encouraged me to make such a decision.”

Buffon left Parma in 2001 and made 656 appearances for Juve. He won his ninth Serie A title this season, leading the Bianconeri to a fourth successive league and cup double.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

One of the few trophies missing from his glittering collection, which includes the 2006 World Cup, is the Champions League. He lost three finals in that competition with Juve.

PSG was eliminated from the Champions League at the round of 16 stage this season, having reached the quarterfinals the previous four years.

“I want to thank the club and the president for their confidence,” Buffon said. “To have followed the club’s incredible progression in recent years, I know what dreams Paris Saint-Germain and its fans have in their hearts.

“I am going to bring all my energy, all my experience and all of my thirst to win to help my new club achieve all the great objectives it has set out for the future.”

[ MORE: England’s “great opportunity” for glory ]

Buffon, former captain of Juve and Italy, retired from the international stage in November after the Azzurri lost a World Cup playoff to Sweden, although he returned for a couple of friendlies.

He made 176 appearances for Italy — a European record — and was voted Serie A’s goalkeeper of the year 12 times.

Buffon’s arrival may mean the end of goalkeeper Alphonse Areola’s PSG career. Kevin Trapp, the No. 2 this season, also appears likely to be sold by new coach Thomas Tuchel.

Buffon will miss his new club’s first three matches in the 2018-19 Champions League, after being suspended for his red card in this season’s quarterfinal defeat against Real Madrid and for comments about the referee.

Buffon gets three-match European ban for Oliver reaction, rant

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
1 Comment

Should Gianluigi Buffon continue his illustrious career, he’s set to miss three matches of Europa League or UEFA Champions League play.

[ MORE: Argentina cancels Israel friendly after Messi threats ]

Buffon, 40, was suspended three games by UEFA for his reaction to a late penalty call against Juventus by referee Michael Oliver following a Mehdi Benatia foul on Lucas Vazquez in the second leg of the UCL quarterfinal second leg.

The goalkeeper was given a red card for his reaction, and proceeded to tear into Oliver with vigor after the match, saying he had a garbage can for a heart and lacked the courage to referee on such a stage.

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli called Oliver’s performance “total chaos.”

Italy coach Mancini leaves door open for Gianluigi Buffon

Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) Italy coach Roberto Mancini says former captain Gianluigi Buffon will still be considered if he wants to return to the national team.

Buffon retired from international soccer in November after Italy lost a World Cup playoff to Sweden, but he recently returned for friendlies.

[ MORE: Next USMNT-Mexico date set ]

Mancini says “(Buffon) wants to continue playing football … Everyone who will play and will be among the best can be considered for the national team.”

Buffon is expected to bid the national team goodbye for good in another friendly on June 4 against the Netherlands at Allianz Stadium. However, at a news conference last week to announce his departure from Juventus, Buffon insisted he had made the last of his 176 appearances for his country.