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.