Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon insists he is enjoying the task of helping reinvent the national side after a disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign.The Italian squad endured a miserable time in South Africa last June, finishing with just two points and bottom of a group containing Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand as they failed to qualify for the knockout phase for just the second time.
Under Cesare Prandelli, who replaced Marcello Lippi as coach after the tournament, Italy have bounced back quickly and are favourites to qualify for Euro 2012 from Group C.
They are five points clear of Slovenia and Serbia at the top of the table ahead of their qualifier against Estonia in Modena on Friday, and 33-year-old Juventus goalkeeper Buffon said he is enjoying being involved in rebuilding the side.
“It has been a great since the 2010 World Cup as we try rebuild a winning project and build a team able to qualify for the next European Championships,” Buffon said.
“This could have been unbelievable, but we shouldn’t take anything for granted. There is still a match to be played and we hope we’ll be playing our best.”
Buffon also said he was pleased with the choice of Antonio Conte as his new boss at Juventus, after the 41-year-old club legend replaced the outgoing Luigi Delneri.
“The previous coach has done an excellent job, which has not been supported by the results for a number of reasons which we won’t be listing now,” said Buffon, who ruled out a move to English Premier League side Arsenal on Wednesday by committing his future to Juventus.
“As far as Antonio Conte’s choice is concerned, I think his history is very clear: he’s won in almost all of his four or five years as a coach.”
“He conveys something successful. He is a very charismatic and positive person, he was like that as a player.”
“He knows Juventus very well and knows what it is needed to coach such a team.”
“There’s a lot to do in order to win but all players should be available and willing and the club should be very supportive since a coach can never win without the support of the club.”