Buffon: If I want to keep playing, I must accept criticism

Gigi Buffon admits he has to “accept criticism” if he is to continue his Juventus career and praised Atalanta for their “emotional” Champions League achievement.

The veteran goalkeeper played in tonight’s 2-0 victory away to Bayer Leverkusen, with first place in the group already secure.

“It’s always emotional to hear the Champions League anthem, especially as my last for Juve wasn’t exactly a positive memory!” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“I feel very good physically and mentally, as if we face the games this way, I am sure we can all do great things. However, if we approach matches with a sense of snobbery, that becomes a problem.

“It’s a bad sign if you don’t go into games with the right determination if you are 20, let alone in your 40s. I am glad that we had examples like Higuain and Ronaldo to lead the way in their performance, work ethic and show of sacrifice for the team.”

Buffon kept his 51st Champions League clean sheet, surpassing Edwin van der Sar and now second only to Iker Casillas on 57.

“If I want to keep playing, I must accept criticism. I have always evolved through errors and I know the more I carry on, the more risk there is I will be criticised, because being 42 years old, I realise that being at a club like Juventus can lead to me being criticised.

“The only thing I can ask is to do my games well and hope to do my best.”

There are three Italian teams going into the Champions League Round of 16 draw.

“I want to congratulate Napoli and above all Atalanta, because seeing what they are achieving is honestly emotional. I messaged Gasperini after the first couple of games and told him to believe, because they are the kind of team who can beat anyone. They can lose to anyone, but on their day, they can beat anybody.

“I am so happy they qualified and it’s a wonderful story.”