Gianluigi Buffon praised Mario Balotelli and wants the Nice striker to be called up for the National Team.
Buffon revealed in an interview with Tiki Taka that he wants Mario Balotelli to return to the National Team.
The Nice hitman has revitalised his career in Ligue 1 after two disappointing seasons in which he played for Premier League team Liverpool and had a loan return to Milan.
Balotelli has scored 21 goals in 29 appearances for Nice this season in all competitions, but the charismatic Italian hasn’t played for Italy since Uruguay defeated them 1-0 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup resulting in the Azzurri suffering a group stage elimination.
“Regardless of whether I’d see him on the pitch again or not, I’d be happy if Mario returned to Italy, he’d have the chance to prove that he has 100 per cent matured, and that he has what we saw as a lad or an unfinished player, the ability to be a champion, to show that consistently. That has to be Mario’s challenge, from now until he stops playing.”
Buffon then spoke about Balotelli returning to the National Team set-up.
“The national team? I think that Mario, for what he’s done and is doing over these two years deserves to be paid attention to and to be taken into consideration. In the end we’re talking about a talent who maybe never had consistency as his strong point, but Italian football hopes he has completely matured. I’ve seen few, maybe only Totti who have that power and accuracy of shooting, there’s truly no equal.”
Tiki Taka then asked Buffon if he’d ever spoken to Gianluigi Donnarumma about taking over from him as the future number one of the National Team.
“It’s not like I gave it to him, he won it and deserved it with his performances over these years and the talent he’s displayed.”
Roma goalkeeper Alisson has made the headlines this season with his performances, and the Brazilian is arguably the best in Serie A this season. Buffon was asked about his opinion about the Giallorossi star.
“In my opinion, Alisson is only a surprise for those who don’t know goalkeepers, and the role of the goalkeeper in general because I’d already spotted him and was aware of him for two or three years. He’d always struck me, above all for the calmness with which he approaches games and simplifies his saves at all times, sometimes making them seem even inoffensive, even in situations which could be a bit delicate. That gives calm and security to the team.”
Juventus look to be preparing for the future once Buffon retires as they signed Polish international Wojciech Szczęsny last summer. Gigi commented on his friendship with the former Arsenal man.
“We’re really good friends. We’re very close, because at the end of the day we’ve created a wonderful union and collaboration. Every time Tek plays he’s a protagonist, he’s won us so many points and has allowed us to still be so close to Napoli. He wants us to call him Tek, because his name and surname are unpronounceable and he found a way to help everyone.”
Buffon was then asked about who the greatest forward he ever faced was.
“I think that Ronaldo, il Fenomeno, at Inter was something incredible. At that time we hardly ever saw players with that physicality, that power, that speed, that technique. Now maybe Messi has those qualities, even if he’s not as powerful. At the time though he really looked like an alien against humans.”