Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Buffon urges Barella to follow Gattuso lead at Euro 2024

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Jun 2024

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Gianluigi Buffon revealed Nicolo Barella will undergo further tests ahead of Euro 2024, but believes the injured midfielder could replicate Gennaro Gattuso’s exploits during Italy’s 2006 World Cup triumph.

The Inter midfielder, who has been named in Luciano Spalletti’s final squad for the forthcoming European Championship in Germany, was absent from Tuesday’s goalless draw with Turkiye with a minor muscle problem.

Former goalkeeper Buffon, now Italy’s head of delegation, played a key role in the side that triumphed at the World Cup 18 years ago, and what was the last major international tournament to be played on German soil.

Meanwhile, after missing the 2-0 victory over Ghana in their tournament opener through injury, Gattuso was a constant in the middle of the park thereon as Marcelo Lippi’s side landed their fourth World crown.

And while he could still make Italy’s first game in Group B against Albania on June 15, Buffon feels Barella could play a similar role to the former Milan central midfielder.

“I hope he will be like Gattuso at the [2006] World Cup,” Buffon said. “He missed the first game, but then he became a protagonist. Yet, in the beginning, they wanted to send him home!

“Nicolo will undergo further tests, but he could already be available against Albania.”

Italy, who will also play Spain and Croatia in Group B, complete their preparations for the tournament against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday.

The Azzurri have already seen Francesco Acerbi and Giorgio Scalvini withdraw from the squad through injury, while Lorenzo Pellegrini limped off against Turkiye and was seen on the bench with an icepack strapped to his knee.

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