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Buffon explains rejecting AC Milan at the start of his career: 'My sporting life would have been very different'

20:35 GMT+3 04/05/2022
The 44-year-old goalkeeper could have begun his playing days with the Rossoneri instead of Parma

Gianluigi Buffon says his career would have turned out very different had he accepted an offer to join AC Milan as a youngster.

The goalkeeper started his career with Parma, joining the club's youth academy aged 13.

After excelling with the north Italian side, helping them to UEFA Cup success in 1999, Buffon went on to enjoy an illustrious career with Juventus and Italy, winning 10 Serie A titles and the World Cup.

What has Buffon said about AC Milan?

Now back at Parma, the iconic shot stopper admits his life would have gone on a different trajectory had he been lured to San Siro by Milan. Instead, he opted to join Parma to team up with goalkeeping coach Ermes Fulgoni.

“Ermes decided to turn my life upside down, he was the one who brought me here," he said to students at the La Salle Institute.

"When I was a boy, in my head, until May I had almost decided to go and play for Milan, then I came to Parma for a trial and I remember that when I arrived I was infected by Ermes’ enthusiasm, his determination and his cheerfulness that made me change my mind.

“If I had not met him, my sporting life would have been different, but hardly better than the one I lived. This means that sometimes you have to surrender to the sensations and emotions that certain people give you.

“On that day he enraptured me and struck me so much, because he had a way of involving me, a way of working that I had never seen before and that excited me. That was the decisive factor in my choice of Parma.”

Why did Buffon return to Parma?

Buffon returned to Parma from Juventus last summer, making the step down to Serie B.

The 44-year-old, who has made 26 appearances in the Italian second tier this season, is contracted to the club until 2024.

"I don’t know how to say it, Parma has always felt part of me, a special city, like my refuge," he said. "The 10 years I spent as a boy here were the most important years in my formation.

"I started to do my eighth grade here, so I had all the friendships in Parma and the relationships I grew up with. I’ve never had the fear of coming back.

"When I came back to Parma, even as an opponent, I had the feeling of returning to a place where I felt the esteem and affection that people had for me even though I played for another team."

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