Italian football champions Juventus have extended goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon and veteran defender Andrea Barzagli’s contracts till June 2018. While 38-year-old captain Buffon’s earlier contract was till the summer of 2017, 35-year-old Barzagli’s contract was suppose to end at the end of this season.
With Barzagli’s contract extension, Juventus will have the luxury of continuing the combined defensive brilliance of the trio, lovingly named BBC — Barzagli, (Leonardo) Bonucci and (Giorgio) Chiellini.
“Juventus Football Club is delighted to announce that Andrea Barzagli and Gianluigi Buffon have both extended their contracts until June 30, 2018,” the club said in a statement on their website.
Both have enjoyed immense success at the club. Their recent successes include five consecutive Scudetto titles, three Italian Super Cups and one Coppa Italia.
Buffon, who joined the Turin giants in 2001, expressed his delight at the prospect of fighting for further honours in the black and white.
“I’m immensely proud in the faith Juventus have placed in me once more and I hope that my fantastic story with this club can continue to yield many more successes,” the 2006 World Cup winner said.
“Now we’re looking forward to the next two years. We’ll approach the upcoming campaign with great humility. If we were to succeed in what we all hope we can achieve, then the numbers would speak for themselves. I’ll have won 10 Scudetto titles in 16 seasons here.”
Asked whether he had his sights set on eventually surpassing Alessandro Del Piero’s all-time record number of appearances at Juventus (705), Buffon admitted that he was, as ever, far more interested in reaching collective landmarks and continuing to develop parts of his own game.
“Beating Del Piero’s record is not something I’m thinking about and I wouldn’t reach his total even if I played 50-55 games over the next two years,” the Italy captain, who plans to quit the national team post the 2018 FIFA World Cup, said.
“The goals I’ve set myself here have always been related to the team as a whole and to work on certain things individually too.
“One area that stands out for me is managing better my emotions, such as the severe disappointment I felt upon conceding the second goal in the return leg against Bayern Munich.”
Barzagli, also a 2006 World Cup winner, spoke of his pride at extending his contract with the Bianconeri until 2018.
“I’m really proud and excited today, because this is what I wanted. Above all I wanted to play for a prestigious club like Juve, so when I got here five-and-a-half years ago I came with maximum concentration, but also nerves at having to deal with such a big stadium and fanbase,”
“Now it’s been five years, we’ve won a lot and we want to continue to do that. I’m very happy with this two year renewal and I can’t wait to start again on Sunday, I can’t wait for the Coppa Italia final and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.
“So I thank the president (Andrea Agnelli) for his beautiful words about me, I thank the club, the directors and everyone who works here.” (IANS)