Gianluigi Buffon

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Buffon back at Juventus after one season at PSG

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TURIN, Italy (AP) Gianluigi Buffon is back at Juventus.

The longtime Bianconeri goalkeeper was undergoing medical tests with Juventus on Thursday, after which he was expected to sign a one-year contract with the club for 1.5 million euros ($1.7 million).

It’s a return for the 41-year-old Buffon after one season away at Paris Saint-Germain.

Juventus posted pictures and videos of Buffon signing autographs for fans outside the club’s training facility before he went inside for the tests.

Buffon is expected to serve as the reserve goalkeeper behind starter Wojciech Szczesny. He needs eight appearances to overtake former AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini as the most capped player in Serie A history. Buffon has 640 appearances in the Italian league; Maldini has 647.

After this season, Buffon is expected to become a member of Juventus’ management.

A year ago, Buffon joined PSG from Juventus on a one-season deal with an option for a second year. It was announced a month ago that PSG and Buffon had decided not to take up the option.

Buffon played 25 times for PSG, sharing duties with Alphonse Areola, and won the French league to add to his multiple titles.

Buffon spent 17 years at Juventus after joining from Parma in 2001 and established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

He won nine Serie A titles with the Bianconeri, including four successive league and cup doubles.

Buffon also made a record 176 international appearances for Italy, helping the Azzurri win the 2006 World Cup.

One of the few trophies missing from Buffon’s glittering collection is the Champions League. He lost three finals in that competition with Juventus.

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Rodriguez, Buffon leave Bayern Munich, PSG, respectively

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Two stars of past World Cup are looking for a new club to play for this summer.

Bayern Munich made it official on Wednesday, announcing that midfielder James Rodriguez would be leaving the club following a two-year loan deal and be, on paper, heading back to Real Madrid. Also on Wednesday, PSG announced that goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon would be leaving the club after just one season.

[READ: Previewing the USWNT’s World Cup group stage opponents]

In his two years in Germany, Rodriguez leaves with four trophies, 67 appearances and 15 goals and 20 assists. While that constitutes some success, for sure, Rodriguez never became as big of a star as the likes of Robert Lewandowski or Thomas Muller. Rodriguez also battled with multiple injuries, including an injury that ended his league season late in April.

Buffon meanwhile split the season with France National Team goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and at age 41, is now looking for another new destination as he could potentially prolong his career.

So, what’s next for the pair? The latest reports have seen Rodriguez linked with a move to Juventus or Napoli, though the Colombian denied those claims to the Colombian media after a friendly match with Panama ahead of the Copa America, stating he’d rather be in Medellin, his hometown in Colombia. For Buffon, meanwhile, it’s another year where he has to decide if he wants to continue playing or retire.

Both players would be interesting pickups for the Premier League, should any teams be willing to take a flyer on them. Would Manchester United bring James in to play behind Marcus Rashford up top, or if Mesut Ozil does leave Arsenal, could James replace him? Buffon could likely be an upgrade, even at his age, for most Premier League defenses, and perhaps he could have a season like Esteban Cambiasso did at Leicester City before retiring.

 

Report: De Gea saga escalates with PSG willing to meet wage demands

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According to a report by The Independent, French club Paris Saint-Germain could be willing to give the salary Manchester United has been thus far hesitant to offer goalkeeper David De Gea.

The Spaniard’s contract is up next summer, having the option triggered by the club over the winter. He has been in talks with Manchester United the last few months, but his wage demands to this point have seen the Red Devils hold back.

PSG currently has Gianluigi Buffon between the sticks, and according to ESPN just a few days ago, the Italian is preparing to sign a contract extension with the club that would keep him at Parc des Princes through the summer of 2021. While the 41-year-old has performed exceptionally well in league play, he had a hand in the club’s Champions League failure against Manchester United, and it’s feasible that the French giants could look to upgrade and bring in De Gea, who is undoubtedly in the conversation for best goalkeeper in Europe.

The Independent report states it would take an offer of over $450,000 a week – or over $23 million – to match De Gea’s current demands, and PSG is ready to make that leap. Symbolically, De Gea reportedly wishes to be the highest-paid player at Manchester United, meaning he would have to beat the $412,000 a week Alexis Sanchez currently owns, which coincidentally makes Sanchez the highest-paid player in the Premier League. According to Sky Sports, contract talks are ongoing.

From Manchester United’s perspective, they are already paying Sanchez the highest salary in the English top flight, plus Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku each sit in the top five. Should they look to bump De Gea to the number one spot, they would potentially have to offset that cost by selling Sanchez, a move that would not shock many given the Chilean’s poor form and injury troubles this season.

It’s possible that this report has come from De Gea’s camp to put pressure on Manchester United in contract talks. However, losing one of the world’s best goalkeepers on a free transfer after next season would be nothing short of a major embarrassment for Manchester United, or even being forced to sell him this summer at a discounted rate. De Gea has been the Red Devils’ savior in multiple high-profile moments over the past few seasons, racking up awards as he continues to prove himself one of the club’s most valuable on-field assets.

Tuchel says Areola will start over Buffon at PSG

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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

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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.