Gianluigi Buffon led a Bianconeri delegation in conveying his delight at the reception the team were afforded upon their early morning arrival in Australia.
The captain was joined by Massimiliano Allegri, Patrice Evra and Carlos Tevez for this lunchtime’s preview of Sunday’s clash against the A-League All Stars and wasted no time in thanking Australian supporters for their generous greeting.
Speaking in a press conference at the Sydney Opera House, Buffon said: “The welcome we’ve received shows us how important Juventus are and what it means to represent them. It was moving to see the fans at six in the morning, perhaps it wouldn’t even have happened in Italy.”
Also pleased with the scene at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith airport was Evra, who pledged to repay the club’s fans Down Under with a memorable night at the ANZ Stadium.
The 33-year-old commented: “I’d always thought that Australia was a rugby country, but it was wonderful to see all the fans waiting for us at the airport this morning. I’m sure the stadium will be full and we’ll do all we can to put on a good show.
“I had already been to Sydney with Manchester United, but coming here with Juventus is the same: there are many fans and the mentality is identical - you always play to win.”
Massimiliano Allegri is confident the increasing quality of Australian football will ensure his men are given a decent workout that will help them to prepare for the long and challenging campaign that lies ahead.
“Australian football has developed a great deal and it will be a good test for us. These games are important for us to prepare for the new season, a campaign in which we’ve got plenty of targets we want to achieve.
“I’ve inherited a team that’s won three titles and this year will be even tougher. The league’s more competitive, but Juventus remain the favourites and we need to try and pull off a tough, but not impossible, feat: win a fourth consecutive Scudetto and enjoy a strong run in the Champions League.”
The appearance of club legend Alessandro Del Piero for the A-League All Stars adds extra excitement to an already special occasion, and Buffon is looking forward to coming up against his old friend on Sunday evening.
He concluded: “It’s something completely new for me but even more so for Juventus. It will be wonderful to see Ale and I hope he treats us to a few of his skills, without scoring past me!”