Italian legend, Gianluigi Buffon reveals how he motivates Paris Saint-Germain teammates Marco Verratti, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar. “It depends on mentality.”
The Italy international spoke to RMC in France about his experience in Paris, including advice to much younger companions.
“In my view, if Kylian decides in his mind to become the Number One for the next 10 years, he can do that, but it depends on his mind.
“He has to make that psychological switch in his head to say, right, I’m going to go and win five Ballon d’Ors in the next 10 years.
“If Paris Saint-Germain want to win, then Mbappé and Neymar must inevitably become the players who make the difference. In my view, we must put them in the psychological and physical condition to give their best, which the way I do it is to motivate them.
“I find it incredible that Ney hasn’t won the Ballon d’Or yet and I tell him that every day. Your objectives, with your immense talent must be to win the Ballon d’Or three times in six years – three for Kylian, three for Ney. If I had their talent and had never won the Ballon d’Or, I’d be furious!”
Buffon played alongside Verratti for Italy first and is now his teammate at Paris Saint-Germain, but the midfielder has never quite delivered on that early promise.
“Marco is another player who in terms of talent is comparable to Mbappé and Neymar. He is growing now, but he had to make the final step up in mentality, in his desire to win.
“It’s great to enjoy ourselves playing important games, but after a while I want to win those games, not just take part in them, and that is a completely different mindset.”
Buffon has been sharing the PSG gloves with Alphonse Areola, as they take it almost in turns to start.
“I’ve never had a problem letting other goalkeepers play, I did the same in the last year and a half at Juventus, because it’s important for everyone to feel they are contributing. Alphonse is a great goalkeeper and an exceptional guy, so when I see people and players like that, I am very happy for them to play.
“I am sure within two years Areola will become a regular first choice goalkeeper for France, as he has been steadily improving throughout the process.”
Do you agree with Buffon?