Friday, 22 Feb 2019

PSG’s Gianluigi Buffon takes turn to try to fill the only gap on his CV

French champions have rotated their goalkeepers all season and on Tuesday the Italian veteran is due to play at Old Trafford

When Paris Saint-German signed Gianluigi Buffon last summer in the hope that he could help satisfy their craving for Champions League success, it looked like a move that illustrated why the French club will never be European champions under their Qatari regime. It was not because the Champions League is the one major trophy that Buffon has never lifted but because PSG already had a gifted goalkeeper, Alphonse Areola, whose progress would be impeded by the club’s incorrigible star-hugging. Is it not ludicrous that the 25-year-old Areola will be parked on the Old Trafford bench on Tuesday while PSG take on Manchester United with a goalkeeper who is more famous but has just turned 41?

Yes, but then again maybe not. Because the strange policy that PSG introduced after Buffon’s arrival – alternating between the Italian and the Frenchman, who will probably start the second leg – has pretty much worked so far. But the big tests are coming. There were plenty of doubters last summer, including PSG’s manager, Thomas Tuchel, who was not behind Buffon’s recruitment. Areola, meanwhile, considered leaving and, according to the Chelsea goalkeeping coach, Christophe Lollichon, was keen on moving to Stamford Bridge until the Londoners broke the world record to sign Kepa Arrizabalaga.

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