Gianluigi Buffon praised Juventus owner the Agnelli family and Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis for returning prestige to the bi-annual clash between the two teams, which were the top two in Serie A last season.
“The prestige of the matchup was lost a bit after the years of Michel Platini and Diego Maradona,” Buffon told the Corriere dello Sport ahead of Sunday’s game. “That returned with the matches in Serie B where both teams had ended up. In a few years, we found ourselves competing at the top and that is the result of planning. For Juventus, the club’s tradition and the [Agnelli] family was important, while Aurelio De Laurentiis deserves great credit for Napoli."
Napoli and Juventus are second and third in the Serie A table, respectively, three points behind AS Roma, which has won 10 and tied just one of its first 11 games.
Asked about Roma’s remarkable start to the season, Buffon replied: “Nobody expected the Giallorossi to be flying so high, not even themselves or their most optimistic supporter. Their run signifies that they have a great desire, motivation and squad spirit – characteristics which allow you to scale unthinkable mountains. Roma are first and they deserve it. They will be a rival right up until the very end.”