Luigi Di Biagio has confirmed that Gianluigi Buffon will be part of Italy’s squad for their international friendlies next month.
I Azzurri’s temporary head coach spoke to La Repubblica about the legendary goalkeeper among a number of other interesting topics during his first ever press conference.
Buffon had initially decided to retire from international football after Italy’s shock World Cup play-off defeat to Sweden ended their hopes of making it to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
However, Di Biagio dropped a huge hint that the 39-year-old Juventus shot stopper would play in Italy’s two matches against Argentina and England in March, and discussions about his future would take place after that.
Di Biagio said: “I spoke to Gigi, because for one so important it is not right that he quits with Sweden – it can not be his last blue act.
“I proposed him to play two or three games with us in March and then decide [on his future] later.”
️ “I think when the national team has a need – even a small need – it’s right to respond. It’s certainly a form of loyalty, but it’s also a sense of responsibility.”
– Gianluigi Buffon on potentially playing again for Italy pic.twitter.com/jIYVbgSu2c
— bet365 (@bet365) 27 February 2018
Buffon has made a national record of 175 appearances for Italy’s national team across a two-decade spell, but he had opted to call time on his career with many expecting long-term successor Gianluigi Donnarumma to replace him.
However, the 18-year-old Milan wonderkid may need to wait a bit longer to acquire the gloves with Buffon electing to stay on for another two matches.
Meanwhile, Di Biagio has been handed the reins of the senior national side following the departure of Gian Piero Ventura after November’s shock Sweden loss thanks to the work he has carried out with the Under-21s set up.
(You may also be interested in Gianluigi Buffon ‘Angry’ After Juventus Ask Him to Almost Half Wage for 12 Month Contract Extension)
Asked if he believed he had a proper chance of staking his claim for the job on a permanent basis, Di Biagio admitted that he did harbour ambitions of making the step up if he managed to secure decent results against the Three Lions and La Albiceleste.
He added: “I want to prove something. Call me what you want, I’m the coach and I have to do something good for the national team and for the boys.
“The thought of me is secondary. Call me a ferryman if you want.”
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