• The Italian 2006 World Cup winner will earn £1.35million during his 12 months back at Juventus.
• The Italian shot-stopper won a brilliant nine Serie A titles with Juventus, as well as four Coppa Italias.
Gianluigi Buffon’s agent Silvano Martina has revealed the legendary goalkeeper turned down rich offers from the Premier League to return to his beloved club.
The Italian 2006 World Cup winner will earn £1.35million during his 12 months back at Juventus and at the end of the season, he will decide whether to continue playing for another year or enter management.
As part of his agreement with the Old Lady, Buffon will play at least 10 games next season, so that he overtakes AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini as Serie A’s all-time leading appearance maker.
The 41-year-old left Paris Saint-Germain after his one-year contract expired at the end of last season and it was safe to say that he was not short of suitors, including a host of Premier League teams.
Buffon’s agent, Martina, said: “He had many offers, especially from the Premier League and from other large teams. ‘I don’t name names, it’s not in my style but I think you won’t have problems understanding. Buffon has always made choices with his heart and never for his wallet. You can compare his return home to that of a husband who after an escapade can’t wait to hug his wife again.”
Buffon was always going to return to his beloved club, where he spent a hugely successful 17 years, making a spectacular 656 appearances. The Italian shot-stopper won a brilliant nine Serie A titles with Juventus, as well as four Coppa Italias.
“Buffon’s love for Juventus is very strong,” adds former goalkeeper Martina. “Turin is his home, it is a very important thing even for his family. Everyone lives in Turin and at the age 41, having the family always present is essential.”
Fans thought Buffon would see out his playing days at Juventus after spending most of his life there, but he opted for pastures new and moved to Paris for an attempt to win more titles there with Ligue 1 giants PSG. And Martina has been quick to defend his move, insisting it shouldn’t have been seen as ‘betrayal’.
Martina insisted: “I don’t think it was a betrayal to go to PSG. He didn’t stay in Italy. It was a quick, immediate offer. As his agent, I advised him to accept considering all this as a nice thing and also to consider that it would provide a comfortable lifestyle for his large family.”
Buffon will reunite with Adrien Rabiot after the French midfielder ran down his contract with PSG before sealing a free transfer to Juventus. He will also link up with Aaron Ramsey for the first time ever after the Welshman moved to Turin on a free from Arsenal.
Buffon, who is relishing the prospect of playing alongside both next season at the Allianz Stadium, played a big role in Rabiot signing for Juventus, according to his agent.
“I think that Rabiot listened to Gigi with respect and sympathy. I consider Rabiot making the best choice,” Martina said. “Ramsey is a great player, I can tell you he is happy, playing the best job in the world with the champions. The Welsh can only be filled with pride. Gigi loves technical players like Aaron.”
Buffon departed for PSG last summer, having lost his place in goal to Wojciech Szczesny and he knows he may have to play second fiddle again upon his return. Martina added: “Gigi turns 42 in January and staying at this level at this age is not easy. Szczesny is a great goalkeeper like Gigi.”
The club’s current second choice stopper Mattia Perrin is expected to walk out of the exit door this summer as he looks to fulfil a career as a No 1 somewhere else. And this has paved the way for the veteran goalkeeper to make a shock return as the club’s No 2.