Gianluigi Buffon insists his move to Paris Saint-Germain had nothing to do with money, adamant he would never “prostitute my ideals”.
Buffon had been widely expected to bring his distinguished career to a close at the end of last season when his Juventus contract expired.
But PSG managed to persuade him to extend his playing days by a further year, bringing him to Paris to compete with Alphonse Areola.
Cynics were quick to suggest Buffon was simply chasing a last significant payday with the Qatari-backed PSG.
But the goalkeeper, who will turn 41 in January, puts such comments down to jealousy.
“There’s always a bit of envy, which is human,” Buffon told Corriere della Sera.
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“The first thing is not to be impacted by the judgements and ideas of others. I would never prostitute my ideals and dreams for money. If I was going to do that, then I would’ve done it a long time ago.
“Money is important – it’s a means to living better, but I am not shallow. They [critics] thought I was a madman, or a statue just without the pigeons.
“But my enthusiasm makes me young, and if I want to keep playing I cannot be like an old grandpa.
“Sometimes I am dafter than a 20-year-old and people don’t consider my age. I am very proud to be at PSG.
“Receiving an offer from a club like this brings great satisfaction. I always gave my best – I am sure I have behaved well and life has rewarded me with this bonus.”
It was also said the signing of Buffon would hold back the talented Areola, limiting his playing time and subsequently damaging his development.
Yet Buffon says he is there to help the 25-year-old, and the two have struck up a friendship.
“With the difference in age and outlooks, there’s no competition, just togetherness and even friendship,” Buffon said.
“Areola is an exceptional goalkeeper and a person of an infinite graciousness that just melts you. When he plays, he’s happy, and I’m also here to help him become a point of reference for both France and PSG.”
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