When you think of Italy, you think of Gianluigi Buffon – the nation’s stalwart who has deputized the Italian goal for over 12 years now. However, despite his wishes to play in another World Cup, it’s highly likely that the Juventus goalkeeper will be succeeded as he is currently 36-years-old. And so, here’s a look at three players who could potentially succeed Buffon for the Azzurri.
Sirigu seems to be the obvious choice – currently first choice for Paris Saint Germain, the Italian stood out for Palermo in his earlier years, catching the eyes of many admirers. He was called up to Italy in 2010 but did not play nor did he make the final 23 man squad for the 2010 World Cup. However, he did move to PSG in 2011 where he has grown in stature ever since, with his impressive reflexes and shot stopping ability.
The 27-year-old now has 11 caps to his name with many believing that he should have deputized in goal rather than Buffon during the 2014 World Cup – a tournament to forget for the Italians. If Sirigu keeps at it, winning trophies with PSG regularly and impressing, he may even get the nod ahead of the European Championship in 2016.
While Sirigu wasn’t called up to the squad that failed in the 2010 World Cup, one goalkeeper who was called and played was Lazio’s Marchetti. When Buffon got injured, Marchetti deputized in his place for the crucial game against Slovenia.
However, it was a game to forget as Marchetti committed high profile errors as the Azzurri lost 3-2, getting knocked out in the group stages. Marchetti was at Cagliari at the time but now playing for Lazio, the Italian has come a long way with his biggest qualities being his command of the goal and agility – helping his team win the Coppa Italia in 2013.
He didn’t make the 2014 World Cup squad but at 31 years of age, he is still in with a shout of taking over from Buffon if things go his way.
The 22-year-old is one of the biggest Italian prospects today – currently a regular for Genoa, Perin was in the World Cup squad in Brazil but didn’t make an appearance, perhaps showing how highly he is regarded that he made it over the likes of the more experienced, Marchetti.
While he is prone to an error here and there, Perin is a commanding goalkeeper whose potential can go a long way. It’s not surprising that given Liverpool’s goalkeeping situation, Perin is one of the players they’ve earmarked to replace Simon Mignolet.
And given his young age, he has all the time in the world to make his stamp.