At 18, Juventus U23’s Alessandro Busti is Canada’s youngest player to debut in goal for the men’s national team. Italian Football Daily caught up with him in the post-game media scrum to chat about his debut and his season with the young bianconeri
A tall, blond figure emerges from the Canadian dressing room, away from the lights of the cameras. In “sleeper mode”, humble, as someone who has a long career ahead of him and lots to learn can, Alessandro Busti was cordial in conceding a brief opportunity to speak to Italian Football Daily.
After congratulating him on his debut, we asked him how it felt to defend Canada’s goal for the first time “I’m the youngest goalkeeper to debut for Canada, and to be honest I never expected it because Simon [Thomas] is more senior”. Indeed, Simon Thomas, 28, regularly starts between the posts for Norwegian first division side Strømmen.
Playing in the Canadian goal tonight means that Busti has now declared for the Canadian men’s national team, therefore he cannot play for his ancestral country, Italy. “When [Canadian men’s national team coach John] Herdman gave me the head’s up that I would play, I was very excited. Emotional, even. It took me a few minutes to realize what was happening – once I settled, I was ready to give it my all”
Busti hadn’t been back to his native Toronto since he was an infant. Yet, he fit right in: “I’m in sync with Herdman”, he said.
“He took me to the Toulon Tournament, where I got the opportunity to familiarize myself with his coaching methods. Here there is a special focus on the mental aspect. He believes a lot in me. He gave me this big opportunity and I’ll do the outmost to make sure I pay him back”
Busti provided his interview in Italian but he doesn’t have a problem communicating with his team mates, in English.
Juventus, the club with whom he has played since his age 8, was the first club to start its own “B-team”, a system which was introduced by the Italian federation as of this season. Juventus U-23, as it’s called, has had a bit of a tumultuous start. When asked about Juventus U23’s season so far, Busti responded “there was adjustment period at the beginning that resulted in losses against Carrarese and Alessandria but then we recouped against Cuneo and Novara, which was significant because the latter have promotion ambitions. We have to keep working well, and do what we must in order to make the playoffs.”
Juventus U-23 currently sits in fourth place in Serie C (Girone A), the Italian third flight. Busti is yet to make an appearance this season for his club side.