Gianluigi Buffon kicks idea of Paris Saint-Germain winning the Champions League into Row Z

The legendary Italian stopper is finally set to make his Champions League debut for PSG against Napoli next Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 02 November 2018
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Gianluigi Buffon kicks idea of Paris Saint-Germain winning the Champions League into Row Z

  • Italian keeper says his new team are not ready to win Europe's biggest prize.
  • PSG currently up against it, lying third in their group behind Liverpool and Napoli.

PARIS: Gianluigi Buffon believes Paris Saint-Germain are not ready to win the Champions League as he prepares to make his European debut with the club against Napoli and play his first game in Italy since leaving Juventus.
The 40-year-old World Cup winner was suspended for PSG’s opening three European games for his behavior and comments toward the referee during Juventus’ quarterfinal loss to Real Madrid last April.
“To achieve certain successes we need a path, a project, a management and a team that have known each other for a long time,” Buffon said in an interview with Sky Sport Italia.
“PSG have been renewed in recent years and need time.”
Buffon said Lionel Messi’s Barcelona and Juventus, who bought Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo last summer, were the favorites.
“In the Champions League there are two or three favorites — Barcelona, because they have the first or occasionally the second (best) player in the world.
“Then there is Juventus, who in recent years have consolidated at these levels and taken the other player who is considered the first and sometimes the second in the world.
“There are outsiders like the (Manchester) City ... who have a coach and a team that make them one of the potential winners.”
Qatar-owned PSG are third in Group C with four points, behind Liverpool (six) and Napoli (five), and will be battling for a win to salvage their flagging European campaign.
“It will be a delicate match against a very high-level opponent,” he said.
“The arrival of (Carlo) Ancelotti means this team now has a certain awareness that it’s not certain they would have had before.”
Buffon added it had been tough watching the first three games from the sidelines.
“I watched on TV in the dressing room, not being able to participate makes me suffer.”
He said he still did not understand why he had been sent off by English referee Michael Oliver.
His suspension followed a post-match rant in which he said the referee had a “rubbish bin” where his heart should be.
“I really was in a foul temper and the Gigi from Carrara (his hometown in Tuscany) came out,” said Buffon, who added he would laugh off the incident if he met Oliver again.
“I would joke, because irony is the best way to break down walls and immediately create empathy.”


Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

Updated 20 January 2019
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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

HUDDERSFIELD: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was far from satisfied despite a 3-0 win away to Huddersfield Town on Sunday that saw his side cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to four points.
Liverpool’s compelling 4-3 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday heaped huge pressure back onto reigning champions City but they were rarely troubled by a Town side that look a certain bet for relegation this season.
City’s first goal, a deflected strike for Danilo in the 18th minute, brought up their 100th goal of the season in all competitions before Raheem Sterling scored a diving header from Leroy Sane’s cross in the 54th minute and Sane himself made it 3-0 with a calm finish just two minutes later.
For Guardiola, it should have been an afternoon of enjoyment as his side again proved their willingness to push Liverpool all the way this season.
The City manager, however, has forged a footballing reputation based on sublime performances as well as ruthless goalscoring and, on that basis, his team’s showing in West Yorkshire was not a success as the visitors never really clicked into gear on a day against a Huddersfield side who had parted company with manager David Wagner on Monday.
“During the season you have these kind of games,” Guardiola said. “It is important to win. We have scored many goals in all competitions.
“(But) the way we played, we didn’t deserve more than three goals. We will improve in the future.
“We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it’s difficult.
“Today we are happy we have won but after immediately we have to analyze. During the season you have games when maybe you are not in the top level and it is important to win these games.”
Although City’s fans were happier than their manager following this result, Guardiola could at least take some heart from the fact his side again refused to blink first in the race for the title.
For the second consecutive week, City kicked off knowing Liverpool had already won their weekend fixture and that, consequently, the onus was back on his players to secure three points as well.
Once again, Guardiola’s side managed to do that following up the 3-0 victory over Wolves with this showing and the City manager was more than happy to remind everybody that silverware is not handed out for another four months.
“One team has been better but we’re in January and there’s many more games to play,” he added.
“You don’t win or lose the Premier League in January. We have to focus on what we have to do. If Liverpool win, we have to win. And if Liverpool lose then we also have to win.”
This match was a baptism of fire for Huddersfield’s caretaker boss Mark Hudson and while the Terriers showed impressive fight to inspire some hope this season, this defeat still left them 10 points adrift of safety.
If, as expected, the Borussia Dortmund Under-23 coach Jan Siewert is appointed as Wagner’s permanent replacement, nobody would blame him if he spent his first day in the job preparing for a return to the second-tier Championship next season.
“It’s been a long week,” admitted Hudson.