Captain Gigi Buffon insists the Bianconeri will be “taking the Europa League seriously” as they prepare to launch themselves into tomorrow’s decisive Round of 32 second leg test against Trabzonspor in Turkey.
Speaking to the media in Trabzon, the 35-year-old began: “It’s a competition to be taken seriously, as there could be some significant successes enjoyed. Going through to the next round and playing even more important games enables you to gain further confidence on the European scene.”
One of the leading lights in last week’s entertaining first leg at Juventus Stadium was Buffon’s opposite number, Trabzonspor shotstopper Onur Kivrak.
And when asked by a Turkish journalist for his view on Kivrak’s display, the Bianconeri skipper provided a complimentary response.
“We’ve seen several Trabzonspor games, and he’s often turned in brilliant performances. He’s ruthless in coming off his line, good at setting his team off on the counter and also made two or three decent saves in Turin. He’s one of the side’s strengths, that’s for sure.”
Buffon ended by paying tribute to the unwavering support of the Bianconeri faithful, who flocked in their numbers to attend last week’s first leg at Juventus Stadium.
And, according to the goalkeeper, it is this following that will prove crucial in lifting the team up to that next level on the European stage.
“It struck us to see the stadium full and the atmosphere created by the fans. In the past that didn’t even happen in important Champions Cup games. This message demonstrates that the Juventus fans and team, thanks to the mentality instilled by the manager, know that time and humility is required if we want to return to the peak of Europe’s elite. The fans’ message is clear: they’re with us and will remain so all the way throughout our journey.”