29.07.2013 06:55 - in: The team S

    Buffon hails new arrivals

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    The captain assesses the team’s recent captures and potential title challengers in a revealing interview: “The new signings represent a genuine step forward and a real statement of intent from the club”

    Gigi Buffon believes Juventus will be even more competitive next season after significantly bolstering the first team squad with the recent acquisitions of Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente and Angelo Ogbonna.

    The club captain, who linked up with the Bianconeri for their Jeep US Tour after featuring for Italy in this summer’s Confederations Cup, says the new recruits have already adapted well to life at the club and claims their captures display Juventus’ desire to mount a serious challenge both domestically and in Europe.

    Speaking to reporters in California, the 35-year-old began: “I’ve come back to a stronger Juventus side. Now we’ve got additional elements of excellent quality. We’ve taken a genuine step forward.

    “The acquisition of Tevez was a real statement of intent from the club. Carlos is one of those who can tip the balance and the fact that a champion like him has considered Juve is also a point of pride for us players.

    “Evidently, his decision to come here means that we’ve also done something important on a European level. The new arrivals have already blended in well with the group and don’t hold back when there’s work to be done. They’ve got an excellent attitude.”

    Whilst Gigi was unable to hide his admiration for the club’s recent purchases, he also had plenty of superlatives for the true revelation of last season, French midfielder Paul Pogba.

    “He’s a player with stand out qualities who enjoys doing what he does. He likes having fun, as you should do at 20 years old, but is also level headed. One thing in particular struck me: he scored a double against Udinese and had a blonde mohawk at the time. A few days later he turned up with his hair cut short. Others might have come in with hair looking like a Red Indian, instead that gesture showed he wanted to make it and also had the right mentality with which to do so.”

    Juventus aren’t the only Serie A club to use the summer transfer market to good effect, with the likes of Napoli and Fiorentina tipped to mount a convincing title challenge after spending big on Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Gomez respectively.  

    Assessing the chasing pack, Buffon added: “Napoli and Fiorentina have been playing good football for a year, made spectacular process and I think the players who have chosen to play in Italy have also come to this conclusion. Our game is improving.

    “Milan are competitive even without making big statements in the transfer market, because they’ve already got players that allow them to be amongst the front runners. Inter’s best signing has been their manager and they already have a foundation of six or seven young and important players. They’ll soon be able to get back to winning ways.

    “Elsewhere, Napoli have bolstered their squad and recruited a winner as their manager. He’s someone I have a great deal of respect for, a great professional who knows what’s required in order to win. Fiorentina also have the signing of Beppe Rossi, who if he clicks with Gomez will form part of an international level strikeforce.”

    The increased competition means the Bianconeri will be pushed all the way in their quest to achieve the club’s principal aim of a third successive Scudetto title.

    But Buffon is adamant the team will rise to the challenge that lies ahead.

    He concluded: “It won’t be easy to reclaim our title, in fact, this year will be even harder than the previous two. But the fact that our rivals are strengthening, coupled with Conte’s unrelenting approach, will only help us to remain on the ball.”

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