Champions League news

Buffon sympathetic to Casillas plight

October 21, 2013
By Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has said he respects the professional way in which Iker Casillas has dealt with spending time on the Real Madrid bench, but does not know how he would handle the same circumstances himself.

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Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is currently rotating his goalkeepers, with Diego Lopez between the posts in La Liga and Casillas playing in Champions League games.

Speaking prior to Juve’s trip to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for Wednesday’s Champions League group game, the Italian No.1 one told AS it was difficult for top goalkeepers to accept not always being an automatic choice.

"I admire Iker a lot," Buffon said. "But due to the type of player I am, and as I still feel a very strong goalkeeper, it would take a lot out of me to accept certain situations.

"However, he deserves a lot of praise, and I respect him much more as a man because of this. For me it is very strange to see a keeper like Casillas on the bench."

The Bianconeri captain, 35, stressed he did not want to take anything away from Lopez but expected Casillas to eventually regain his place for all games.

"Within this debate you must also respect Diego Lopez who, apart from what he is doing this season, has always been an excellent 'keeper," Buffon said.

"Iker has always shown himself to be a great champion. I believe great champions in these negative situations have the character to find this competitive rage when they return to play, which sometimes, with time, you can lose for a while. When these unexpected things happen, you have more strength when you return."

The 2006 World Cup winner said he had overcome a much more difficult situation than just losing his place in the side, having battled depression earlier in his career.

"These things happen sometimes as we are human beings," he said. "As it could happen to someone working in a bank or a filling station, it can also happen to a footballer. It was a very important phase in my life, when I grew as a man and matured.

"Now I feel much stronger and I am not afraid to take on negative periods. These are things that, if you overcome them on your own, it gives you a lot of strength."


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