Gianluigi Buffon is expecting a tight two-horse race between Juventus and old foes Inter Milan for the Serie A title this season.
Buffon made his second start of the season on Saturday to help Juventus beat SPAL 2-0 in Turin. It kept them just two points within Serie A leaders Inter, who overcame Sampdoria 3-1 on the same day.
Now the two Italian giants will meet at the San Siro next Sunday for the famed Derby d’Italia.
And Buffon has no doubts that it’s a clear title standoff between Juventus and Inter.
“Of course it’s a Scudetto battle,” the 41-year-old told TMW.
“We are challenging for the title, that goes without saying, but as is only right, Inter also aim to win the Scudetto.
“I know perfectly well the cred of [Inter coach Antonio] Conte and [chief executive] Beppe Marotta, so I know full well that hope is in their hearts.
“It’s only right that they should believe in their title chances, because Inter’s a quality squad, they know their football, have this great energy to transmit to the team and can challenge to the end for the trophy.”
While things have gotten off to a rather shaky start under new coach Maurizio Sarri, Juventus have still won five of their opening six Serie A games.
“I’ve seen Juventus constantly growing this season, building brick by brick, game after game,” continued Buffon.
“I believe the way forward is to continue raising the bar, trying if possible to enjoy our football and do something new, seeing as that’s why the changes were made.”
Meanwhile, Buffon is optimistic of his chances of finally winning silverware in Europe this season.
After drawing 2-2 at Atletico Madrid, Juventus will play host Bayer Leverkusen in Turin for their next Group D match on Tuesday.
The Italian added: “I think there were also positive signs from the Champions League.
“We drew 2-2 with Atletico Madrid, but we played the game, created five or six chances and really scared Atleti on their own turf. That’s no guarantee of success, but it’s a comforting sign.”
Buffon also spoke on his delight in breaking Paolo Maldini’s record for the most appearances at club level.
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