Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport
Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon has said he “sacrificed” the chance to win the Ballon d’Or by deciding to stay at Juventus when they were relegated to Serie B for match-fixing.
Italian goalkeeper Buffon, 42, made the comments during a gala for the Agnelli Trophy which is a sporting event held in the city of Turin in the Piedmont region in northwestern Italy.
Buffon was one of the few high-profile players who decided to stay at Juventus after they were relegated to Serie B for the 2006-07 season for being involved in a scandal in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.
When speaking about his decision to stay he said: “In a world full of words, this was a unique opportunity to teach a lesson to those kids that love football.
“A lesson that can only be taught if you are the first to sacrifice something important.” He added “I gave up a lot. I was 28 years old and was in the middle of my career.
“I had just won the World Cup and I was playing for the Ballon d’Or. If I had made another decision, things would have been different.”
However, Buffon went on to explain: “I knew that if I acted right and was generous, life would pay me back. I am almost 42 years old and am here thanks to a decision I made 14 years ago.”
Buffon’s former Juventus teammate Fabio Cannavaro won the Ballon d’Or while playing for Real Madrid in 2006.
Buffon has played the majority of his professional career at Juventus. He was sold back to the Italian club this summer after spending the 2018/2019 season at PSG.
The Calciopoli scandal uncovered a network of managers who influenced official organisations for referee appointments in 2006 through telephone interceptions.
After the club was found guilty, they were relegated to Serie B with negative nine points and were stripped of their 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 seasons Serie A league titles.
Juventus lost several superstars after the decision such as former Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who went to Inter Milan, and Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro who was sold to Real Madrid, among others.