Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon thought his chance for a fairytale ending disappeared, but may still claim the last jewel for his crown.
Buffon’s Champions League campaigns have ended at the hands of Real Madrid and Manchester United the past two seasons, the latter at PSG, but the legendary keeper still has something left in the tank after returning to Juventus this season.
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“I felt the need to have that experience in Paris, to go outside my comfort zone,” Buffon told Football-Italia. “There was no guarantee that would go well, but the fact that it did made me a more complete person.
“However, at a certain point, I felt the call of home and family. Being back two weekends per month wasn’t enough for me. I decided to return to Turin, but that wasn’t the only reason. It was like closing a perfect circle with the teammates of a lifetime, albeit in a less important role than the one I had before.”
Buffon won Ligue 1 with PSG last season, his first outside Juve since arriving from Parma in 2001.
Buffon says “it’s a source of pride” that Juve gave him another chance at age 41, where he’s spelling Wojciech Szczesny
“I don’t feel that I’ve given all I can, not the full 100 per cent. Maybe I am missing that 15 per cent I need for the grand finale of this career.”
Paris Saint-Germain fans may have to return to liking Neymar again.
For the second consecutive Ligue 1 match, Neymar scored late to give PSG all three points in a massive 1-0 win at Lyon. With the win, PSG moved into a three-point lead in the Ligue 1 table.
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After being involved in the buildup in the 87th minute, Neymar found a pocket of space at the top of the box. After receiving the ball and facing up his defenders, he made a quick move to his left, took two steps and fired a strike into the low far corner to put PSG in front.
PSG fans have come out pretty clearly since the summer when news reports surrounding Neymar and his camp made it clear he preferred to leave PSG for a return to Barcelona. It appeared he was willing to give up on his dream to lead the line and be a new star for a team in another league, but the transfer never happened, mainly for financial reasons.
And yet, despite missing most of preseason recovering from his ankle injury suffered on international duty, Neymar returned to the side for coach Thomas Tuchel and has scored two massive goals to help earn PSG six points.
To Neymar’s credit, it appears he’s put his head down since the end of the transfer window and is working hard for his club and his teammates. Despite his hatred from fans and general observers for some of his on-the-field and off-the-field antics, he seems to have the trust of his PSG teammates, and there were many reports that Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi were the ones pushing for Neymar to come back from within Barcelona.
Even if he can’t win over some PSG fans for threatening to leave the club, more goals like these will certainly endear him to fans who may have been indifferent over the transfer saga.
Watch the goal below:
On any given day, Lionel Messi holds most of the power at Barcelona.
A few months out from the possibility of negotiating a deal with any team in the world, that world’s best player darn nears holds all of it.
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Messi, 32, has been out of the line up for two of three matches as Barca struggles early in La Liga’s season, and the absence of a key piece to fill his void is glaring after the club’s failed summer chase of Neymar.
Messi stopped short of expressing doubt about the team, saying they have a “spectacular squad and can achieve everything without him,” but it’s clear he truly wanted the Brazilian back in the Blaugranas and was closely following the proceedings.
“I know that I spoke with Ney and he told me how things were going. He was desperate to come back. I don’t know if the club really tried or not. From what I do know, Neymar was hoping it would happen. I also understand it’s very difficult to negotiate with PSG after all their previous back and forth issues with Barcelona. And it’s difficult because Neymar is one of the best around. Negotiations are never easy. I can’t offer an opinion because I don’t know everything. I know what was published and what they said.”
Barca is said to be preparing a lifetime contract for Messi, and did land Antoine Griezmann and a potential midfield star for a lifetime in Frenkie de Jong. This summer however also said Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid invest heavily in closin the gap to Barca.
Will Neymar spend the entire season at Paris Saint-Germain?
Neymar will not be leaving Paris Saint-Germain, with L’Equipe reporting that the Brazilian star has told family that he’ll stay in Paris this season after a summer of transfer tumult nearly stretched into September.
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In a sign of the times, AS reports that PSG has taken the extraordinary step of meeting with its ultras to ask patience and perhaps a measure of forgiveness on behalf of the player.
It’s going to be a long road back for Neymar, but he certainly has the quality to quickly find redemption amongst even the most bitter of supporters. And with Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani injured, as strong return to the field is necessary.
A second report crediting (or blaming) a young Barcelona star for the lack of movement.
Ousmane Dembele refused a move in the opposition direction, according to Goal.com, preferring to stay and fight for his stardom at Barca. From Goal.com:
And while a fresh start in his native France might have seemed a good idea from the outside, the 22-year-old has flat-out refused to move, with money seemingly not a factor as Dembele plots a long career with the Liga champions.
Barcelona has started the season with two draws and a win — guess which match the injured Lionel Messi started — and tension is high at the Camp Nou.
It’s not the right call to vilify Dembele here. Barcelona needs to take a long hard look at itself having loaned Philippe Coutinho to Bayern Munich in order to clear the wages for Neymar. If Dembele was never going to leave Barca, then Barca shouldn’t have cleared Coutinho’s plate from the table.
Now Dembele — not to mention Ivan Rakitic and others — stays and probably feels a bit aggrieved. That may not hurt Barca this season as Dembele fights to assert his quality, but may sting down the road.
One of the top players in the world will be on the sidelines for a while.
Well, two, actually, and both play for the same club.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe is out for three weeks and Edinson Cavani a month, the latter missing a friendly against the USMNT next month.
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The injuries come as PSG boss Thomas Tuchel grouses about healthy Neymar’s refusal to play for the club while trying to engineer a transfer to either Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Will the Brazilian turn up for his team? Probably not.
PSG lost at Rennes and has won twice early this season. Mbappe will miss Friday’s match at Metz and the Sept. 14 visit from Strasbourg and is a question for the start of the UEFA Champions League group stage (Sept. 17-18).
Any setbacks would mean he’d be out for a monumental tilt at Lyon on Sept. 22.